Why Do Smart People Make Mistakes? The Answers are Worthy of a Nobel Prize

Activity description

Clinical decision-making is an automatic process that is often overlooked when we as humans and health care professionals (HCPs) scrutinize the outcomes of our clinical strategies when we strive to address health care issues. Increasing awareness of the recognized aspects of the decision-making process can assist with problem-solving, improve optimal judgement, and increase the speed and effectiveness of our cognitive processes and decisions. Some of the thought strategies that we unconsciously employ may unintentionally distort these processes and impair optimal judgement. Participants in this activity will learn about the system framework theory of decision-making and how System I- and System II-type cognitive processes can best be utilized in the health care setting. The role of heuristics (mental “shortcuts” and rules-of-thumb) will be examined, as well as the types of cognitive biases (inherent and often unconscious systematic errors in thinking) that most commonly result in negative health outcomes. Debiasing strategies to address these negative influences on rational and optimal decision-making that are applicable to the self and the health care team will be explored. 

Provided by
This activity is jointly provided by OptumHealth Education and OptumLabs.

Commercial support
No commercial support was received for this activity.
Required hardware/software
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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of counselors, educators, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, PAs, physicians, psychologists, social workers, therapists and other HCPs who have an interest in clinical decision-making.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the System I/System II framework of decision-making and the applications and effectiveness of these approaches in the medical decision-making process.
  • Define the term “heuristic” and discuss the roles and types of heuristics used in judgement and decision-making processes.
  • Review the most common types of cognitive biases that influence decision-making and how they can negatively impact patient care when they are present in the health care setting. 
  • Discuss internal and external debiasing strategies that are effective in health care.
Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 



David J. Cook, MD, MHA, FAHA  
Senior Vice President
UnitedHealth Group

About the presenter
As Senior Vice President of OptumLabs, Dr. Cook supports the development of enterprise strategy on health care services design and innovation, and operates across research, clinical and ventures divisions within OptumLabs to build and inform future directions in health care delivery. He supports OptumLabs in driving innovation to inform future care and payment models throughout UnitedHealth Group, and helps lead organizational efforts in diabetes and kidney disease. 

Previously, Dr. Cook served as Chief Clinical Officer for Jiahui Health in Shanghai, China. In this role, Dr. Cook oversaw the development and opening of an integrated, multisite medical system in China, and was responsible for strategic planning, phasing, and standing up of clinical operations at ambulatory and hospital locations. He also directed innovation, technology development and investment strategy, and pan-pacific partnerships. Prior to this role, Dr. Cook was Professor Emeritus at Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic Foundation. His position as an anesthesiologist-Intensivist with an appointment in the Section of Systems Engineering focused on the application of systems engineering approaches to practice analysis and redesign. He was recognized for clinical practice optimization and innovation and the early application of mobile health information technology to care delivery. 

Dr. Cook’s work has included presentations at the World Economic Forum, with NEJM Catalyst, the American College of Health Care Executives, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the National Health Service Innovation Conference, the National Press Club, and exposure through The Advisory Board, the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. Dr. Cook is on the Board of Directors of the National Kidney Foundation and of the Rosenman Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Cook is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and received a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Minnesota.

Activity planners
Sarah Chart, RN
Vice President
OptumHealth Education

Elizabeth Albert, MD
Clinical Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education's (ACCME) Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, OptumHealth Education (OHE) requires all those in control of educational content to disclose their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. Ineligible companies are defined by the ACCME as companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing health care products used by or on patients. Individuals must disclose all financial relationships, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies and regardless of their view of the relevance of the relationship to the education. OHE ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

The planners and faculty of this activity have no financial relationships to disclose. 

Method for calculating CE credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content.

Accreditation statement
Joint Provider LogoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education and OptumLabs. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the health care team.

Credit designation statements
Interprofessional CEThis activity was planned by and for the health care team, and learners will receive 1.00 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credits for learning and change.

The participant will be awarded up to 1.00 contact hour(s) of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy technicians
This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hour ([0.10] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 1.00 contact hour.
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-9999-21-310-H04-P/T

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

OptumHealth Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this program. 1.00 CE hour.

Social workers
ACE LogoAs a Jointly Accredited Organization, OptumHealth Education is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.00 enduring continuing education credits.

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been preapproved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization from which they wish to obtain credit.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
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