A favour, please …

If you can, please take a moment to answer this one question. (We are considering a project with a leading medical school and I’m still collecting responses to last week’s post. I would be very glad to have your response, too.):

You choose: RIGHT diagnosis or BETTER diagnosis?

Here’s my thank you … a smartphone book called: Bad Philosophy. If you like, feel free to pass it on.


52 thoughts on “A favour, please …

  1. I would rather a better diagnosis for my overall health and future comfort than the right diagnosis for this point in time.

  2. I choose Right Diagnosis, as it has an absoluteness about it that makes it a stronger statement.
    Better diagnosis to me says there is other choices.
    As a patient, I need confidence when obtaining a medical opinion.
    I may still obtain another opinion, however for that practioner, i want to hear the Right Diagnosis.

  3. Better diagnosis.
    Who’s to say what is “right”, especially in medical fields. Clinical guidelines offer roads to best practice, not “right practice”.
    The term “Better diagnosis” also has a built-in meaning of a constant search for improvement…and I like the idea of that.

  4. Right diagnosis is key to treatment efficacy. Better diagnosis…not sure what that means? Better than what? Or is it about better tools to assist with right/accurate diagnosis; better patient experience?

  5. How about ‘A Diagnosis’? This way you are not accountable for people’s perception of what the diagnosis may deliver.

  6. I’m sure you would agree that health is not just the absence of sickness. I’d therefore say better diagnosis because health when holistically approached is a wide concept that includes optimal physical, mental, emotional & spiritual well-being, that varies from person to person. Hence, reducing ambiguity in such a complex scenario as well-being; better diagnosis would be my choice.

  7. Is the Better diagnosis the Right diagnosis?
    If the Better diagnosis is the best diagnosis at the time, then it is the right diagnosis.

  8. In most cases medical diagnosis is not a binary situation. There will be a list of differential diagnosis from which the doctor has two choose and confirm after tests. The diagnosis can be right one for the doctor, while the patient may go for a second opinion in search of better diagnosis. This happens in situations where the trust between doctor and patient is not 100% bonded or trusted. In short better diagnosis is what the patient will seek, while right diagnosis is what the doctor will opt for.

  9. Better diagnosis for me infers a a continual process as in CVS to BVS. Right diagnosis promotes a closed mindset

  10. I would choose the better diagnosis providing that the evidence supports an improved outcome over the ‘right’ diagnosis.

  11. I am inclined to better;right has a finality about it ;that it cannot be contested ;better would stimulate thought
    I prefer better

  12. To me ‘a better’ infers a more complete, new or innovative approach to discover the real issue, problem or concern. The ‘Better’ also infers that another diagnosis had already been applied and the better is a result of a CVS2BVS.

  13. Right diagnosis is my pick.
    The reason is that right dignosis leads to the root cause of the ailment. Identifying the cause leads to right treatment which in turn cures the ailment.

    Better dignosis is suspetible. Better than what. What is the yardstick of comparison. How can one be sure that the better dignostic is really effective. Leaves elements of doubt.

  14. This is a problem we deal with daily in accounting. There is a temptation to be precisely wrong rather than approximately right. Precisely wrong can be justified numerically but it does not tell you anything useful.
    Therefore I choose the better diagnosis as I believe that is more likely to result in a useful outcome/treatment rather than a precise or accurate diagnosis that may only address part of the whole problem and may not result in effective treatment.

  15. I am currently 2 years after cancer diagnosis and no re-emergence of same after an operation to remove my prostrate.

    My initial diagnosis from GP after a MRI that showed no cancer was don’t worry too much we have got prostate cancer under control if it does emerge later.

    However, I didn’t feel well and kept pushing – my specialist said he wasn’t happy as well and suggested he could do a biopsy – my biopsy result was Gleeson 4+4 = 8 a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

    I then opted for surgery to remove the prostate rather than go down the chemo or radiation track.

    I have avoided chemo or radiation therapy and still have those in the kit bag if it does come back as my specialist expects it too. So for me having the right information at the time of making a diagnosis is essential.

    In my case the “better” diagnosis was the “right” diagnosis + I accordingly don’t see them as mutually exclusive

    Three observations:

    1. Most people don’t realize that an MRI is only 85% accurate as diagnostic tool – for me it’s my life and that’s an unacceptable risk.

    2. If you don’t feel well keep pushing until you find out why – there will be some medico out there who will be able to tell you!

    3. As you get older and your cells reincarnate themselves less perfectly every 7 years your chance of getting an illness goes up exponentially.

  16. When we say better it emplyes a comparason so i would say i want the right one. If i go for a second opinion or third then a better one.

  17. Better Diagnosis – even in medicine there is rarely a 100% “right” diagnosis. Better Diagnosis leaves room for further Better Diagnosis – a “right” diagnosis closes the door on thinking and ideas.

  18. Better diagnosis could be indicative of more thinking and research .
    (it is comparative with …”an earlier” maybe less comprehensively prepared diagnosis ,or maybe …an initial
    (more cursory ) diagnosis .
    Because the word ‘right’ has an aura of finality , and “correct” might be a better choice of a word….which carries the same meaning. …..there is a place for its usage ,with care ,only.
    …because medical science is “an inexact science ” and it is possible that bodily situations can change ……..SO…..for me ..a better diagnosis ….would be the preferred remark .

  19. Why accept the offered choices as a thinker I offer an alternative. AD or Accurate Diagnosis. This is more than just a play on words and definitions. As a patient who is sick and needs medicine/care I want my doctor to make an accurate diagnosis to what ails me and prescribe the appropriate medicine that fixes the problem and/or restores me to health.

  20. I’ll take the better diagnosis as I find it hard to trust the established ready made diagnosis that has been formed to alieve the patient not the real prognosis.

  21. I need the RIGHT diagnosis and once I found it, I keep looking for a better one 😉

    Ps: come on people! Step beyond the binary thinking of this or that. Think! After all you are at the SOT and your teacher is paying attention what you are saying!

  22. Better diagnosis for me as I would expect that to consider all possible issues, options and outcomes.

  23. Of course if there is one, a better diagnosis will always be my choice! there’s good and there’s better, and better is best!

  24. I prefer just plain ‘diagnosis’.

    I don’t think doctors can ever be 100% certain or ‘right’ about a diagnosis. A ‘right’ diagnosis suggests all knowledge is known about a condition which is not true. Genomics is showing how variable and complex a condition can be, for example.

    ‘Better’ is irrelevant and redundant. It’s either a diagnosis or it’s not.

  25. Right diagnosis – better than what? Right sounds spot on whereas better is comparative and maybe rather poor

  26. Right Diagnosis! What I really want is the Correct Diagnosis and Right Diagnosis is closer to Correct Diagnosis. People go and get second opinions because they want the Correct Diagnosis.

  27. The right diagnosis for is about technical accuracy the better diagnosis being more than that and a type of holistic way of thinking that is a better way of thinking about disgnostics

  28. I choose the right diagnosis since it is not wrong and is therefore also the better diagnosis by virtue of the fact that it is right.

  29. I would rather a better diagnosis. This may include education for self management or more broad testing early on, as opposed to a “right” here is the drug that will fix that, even though doctor still may have no idea what the problem is.

  30. RIGHT, because it would keep the medical staff motivated to continually strive for the highest possible outcome. It could, however, be rigid, arrogant, cold. Better sounds friendlier, but is somewhat vague and does not indicate better to what, so the level could be quite low. It is because of the medical context that I choose “right;” if in another context I could choose “better.”

  31. Right Diagnosis is correct because it is based facts / reality. Better Diagnosis is relative it may not be correct.
    Hence, I prefer Right Diagnosis.

  32. Right diagnosis for me is better as I can then find the right cure or chose different treatments available . Nowadays so many misdiagnosis are happening that it is nice to know exactly what’s wrong with you when you are unwell. After that, a better treatment or cure is welcome 🙂
    Thank you for your great work.

  33. Right suggests based on what we know now, whereas better suggests a more accurate diagnosis including new information not known in the determination of a right diagnosis. Alternatively the Right diagnosis may simply represent that despite all known information and alternatives that might suggest it is a better diagnostic, it is in fact the one and only correct diagnosis. I would prefer what is ultimately declared as the correct diagnosis.

  34. better diagnosis, because right is normally what medical protocall does even if it
    has a poor and dangerous solution.

  35. Better Diagnosis is my preference.

    Right diagnosis is only right based on the current view of the situation. It does not mean there is not a better diagnosis.

    Thank you for the book, “Bad Philosophy”.

  36. I choose ” Better Diagnosis” , but “Right Diagnosis” is also considered as a medical second opinion, so that I can gain more knowledge of my condition and my options too.

  37. A better diagnosis with an indication of associated accuracy to direct an appropriate response.

    A response now could well be critical but might also be unnecessary. If the right diagnosis is available, that would always be preferable. If the right diagnosis takes longer to obtain than the medical condition takes to become unrecoverable then the ROI is suspect.

    A lot depends on the context (as usual). I’d expect the 100% right diagnosis for a broken arm but could accept less confidence for a rare or ‘orphan’ disease.

    Either way, you need to be able to qualify the result with respect to Precision (true positives / predicted positives) and Recall (true positives / actual positives). It is important to understand the chances of a misdiagnosis wrt both false positives and false negatives.

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