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Cognitive bias in the emergency department is a ubiquitous phenomenon with unknown effect on patient outcomes
  1. Madeleine Whalen
  1. Department of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Madeleine Whalen, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; mwhalen8{at}

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Commentary on: Jala S, Fry M, Elliott R. Cognitive bias during clinical decision-making and its influence on patient outcomes in the emergency department: A scoping review. J Clin Nurs. 2023 Oct;32(19-20):7076-7085. doi: 10.1111/jocn.16845. Epub 2023 Aug 21.

Implications for practice and research

  • Although the full implications are still being established, emergency healthcare providers should consider and mitigate cognitive bias in their clinical decision-making.

  • Further research is needed on the impact of emergency nurses’ implicit biases on patient outcomes.


Cognitive bias is the ‘systemic but faulty pattern of responses to judgement and decision-making.’1 Its role has been studied throughout a variety of fields, including finance, politics, engineering, manufacturing and even tourism. In recent years, the role of cognitive bias in healthcare has garnered greater attention and has been associated with adverse events, including diagnostic errors and treatment decisions. Although pervasive throughout …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.