A study in 60 seconds: How is the doctor feeling?

18 Jul 2018 01:17 0
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Decisions about patient care, especially in the ICU, are complicated. Doctors consider an incredible number of factors (lifestyle habits, family history, severity of illness etc.) when deciding what exams to order, and what treatments to prescribe. But doctors aren't machines; In addition to signals, charts, and measurements, they also have "gut feelings" about their patients. We were curious if these gut feelings were measurable, and to what extent they had an impact on care decisions. To answer these questions we studied 10 years of medical data, collecting information on all the patient factors that influence doctor's care decisions: age, gender, disease type and severity etc. But we also quantified how the doctor's 'felt' about their patients by performing a sentiment analysis on their written care notes. We discovered that the doctor's feelings about patient predicted their care decisions: when doctors were more pessimistic, they also tended to order more exams, independent of what the other factors were telling them.

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