Cognitive schema and naturalistic decision making in evidence-based practices

J Biomed Inform. 2004 Apr;37(2):86-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2004.02.002.


A recent article in this journal proposed a naturalistic approach to decision making that overcomes problems intrinsic to classical decision theory. The approach emphasizes cognitive and multi-level processes, the development of expert reasoning, and the role of decision support in individual and organizational decision making. The current paper builds on this effort by suggesting a naturalistic, multi-level, theory that can facilitate the dissemination of evidence-based practices (EBPs). The paper presents "Image Theory," a theory that has been extensively investigated in other disciplines, but has yet to be utilized in medical decision research. It is suggested that its rich, empirically tested, distinctions among kinds of cognitive and organizational processes and types of decisions and tasks make Image Theory especially valuable in describing impediments to implementing EBPs. The paper discusses how naturalistic theory can assist clinicians, administrators, researchers, and policy makers in achieving a balance between evidence-based medicine and patient-centered practice.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Cognition*
  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*