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Keywords:

  • medical education;
  • pharmacotherapy;
  • therapeutic reasoning;
  • undergraduate medical education

Abstract

Rationale  Extensive research has been conducted on clinical reasoning to gain better understanding of this process. Clinical reasoning has been defined as the process of thinking critically about the diagnosis and patient management. However, most research has focused on the process of diagnostic reasoning. Because of the lack of understanding regarding therapeutic reasoning, education in patient management decisions lacks a solid theoretical basis.

Aims and objective  To improve medical education, training and refresher courses with regard to therapeutic decision making.

Methods  A search on the literature about clinical reasoning has been conducted. Based on this literature a hypothetical model of therapeutic reasoning is developed.

Results  It is assumed on the literature about diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning that after the diagnosis has been formulated, the process of determining the therapy is initiated by a concept called the therapy script. Patient cases unconsciously elicit such scripts and they consist of relevant treatments, knowledge and clinical experiences. Analytical and non-analytical processes determine the final choice of therapy. Subsequently, these processes adapt the therapy script continuously.

Conclusions  A hypothetical model of therapeutic reasoning has been developed in order to improve medical education, training and refresher courses with regard to therapeutic decision making. Future research should empirically test the validity of this hypothetical model in different phases of the medical education continuum.