Thought Experiment #7:

What if you were a patient and you had a choice of medical diagnoses–an RD or a BD–which one would you choose?

(When an RD is a ‘RIGHT diagnosis’ and a BD is a ‘BETTER diagnosis’.)


Have a think. Make your choice between RD or BD. Say why you made your choice.

56 thoughts on “You choose: RIGHT diagnosis or BETTER diagnosis?

  1. Complexity of the situation is an important factor to decide right or better.
    As we understand better is evolving and never rests while the logic thinking stops when it reaches right.
    If the situation is complex , problem is intriguing try better but if it’s simple I would think why even bother save the cognitive powers!

  2. To answer this question, I find myself having to start with a premise that states;

    The ‘BD’ is better than, the ‘RD’ & the ‘RD’ is A solution, a currently accepted ‘only’ solution, that makes it right.

    The ‘BD’ is “better” – meaning it better fulfills the purpose & intended outcomes of the ‘RD’

    The “BD” is a condition that always, allows a possibility of a ‘BD’ of the situation that exceeds the purpose(s) / outcomes of the ‘RD’ without any limits.

  3. Someone saw me cough a little and commented that I had a cold. It was a right diagnosis, but a better diagnosis was that I made myself as I covered up and there was no definition of sickness anymore.Often I do like to look forward rather than as at the symptom presented that may carry on and lead to a day or more of disease.

  4. If I were in this situation I’d choose the Right Diagnosis. If “Better” means the GP says this to offer some sort of comfort – moral support – it might be nice emotionally, yes. But if it isn’t getting to the real issue I’d like to really know what’s wrong with me.

  5. There are several points but one of the points of the thought experiment is metacognition–an opportunity for one to notice one’s own thinking.

  6. Better than what? – Better than the one you have, which may be totally wrong anyway? A “better” diagnosis may be only marginally better than that, but nevertheless be better.
    I’d go for a “right” diagnosis – to the extent that any diagnosis can be 100% right!.
    “Right” as judged by whom?
    I’ll be very interested if someone can tell me the point of the question. .

  7. RD – If you want the answer you need – the RD is sought – and its through a BD it can be achieved.

  8. I guess, thinking about the two words, RIGHT suggests that the doctor has stopped thinking about what is wrong with me. He/she has their solution and can move on to the next patient. The doctor who is thinking about BETTER diagnoses I would suggest has a mindset that is always questioning and looking for alternatives and improving their practice. So, I’d go for the BETTER diagnosis.

  9. The best diagnosis is one that is (1) reliable and (2) valid and that has (3) clinical utility. There is often no ‘right’ diagnosis when it comes to the human body.

    A diagnosis is really just a category that someone can be placed into … and to be placed ‘correctly’ into that category, the ‘things’ that place them in there, such as a diagnostic test, have to be reliable and valid.

    But if you get put in a category … but there’s no useful treatment for the people in that ‘category’ … then there’s no use being in that category, even thought it might be ‘right’.

    For example, you can have an xray for your back pain, and get put into a category of ‘osteo-arthritis’ and it could be ‘right’ … but there is no effective treatment for ‘osteo-arthritis’ … but there are other effective treatments for other categories of spinal pain … and the person might fit into that ‘other’ category.

    So, it would be better for them to be in a category that has a useful treatment, than in a category for which there isn’t an effective treatment …

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