Decision making and judgement in radiographic and sonographic practice : an investigation using decision analysis.
This is a study into decision making and judgement in the context of radiography. The
early part of the study investigated the nature and scope of decisions and judgements
made in general radiography and sonography, while the later part focused on the
decisions and judgements made by sonographers when breaking bad news to patients.
The study is located in a broad interpretative framework, it used an adapted form of
phenomenological methodology. A survey and an observational study were used to
colJect data. In-depth interviews were conducted which used decision analysis (a tool
normally used as a decision aid) to elicit participants perceptions and experiences of
decision making and judgement.
Decision analysis was used in three different ways to collect data. The technique was
found to be particularly useful in enabling participants to reflect on their intuitive
processes and hence make them overt.
The data collected during the observational phase of the study was used to formulate a
classification of radiographic decision making and judgement. The study found that
the predominant style of decision making and judgement in radiography is intuitive
with some evidence of peer-aided decision making and judgement. There is little
evidence that the participants use systems aided approaches. Participants found the
process of decision analysis interesting but could not relate its use to their own
professional practice other than as an educational or de-briefing tool.
In sonography it was found that participants had an over-confidence in their diagnostic
abilities which influenced their decision making. Sonographers were also found to
produce information based on experience, when this information was absent from the
decision making scenario provided. On the whole the participants in this study had
given little thought to the process of decision making and judgement and the impact of
factors such as base rates.