In How Doctors Think, Jerome E. Groopman is concerned with misdiagnosis of patients' diseases. Early in the text he says that more harm is done through misdiagnosis than through outright mistakes, such as removing the wrong kidney or giving incorrect dosages of drugs. These headline catching mistakes are rare, but treating wrong diseases are not.
Groopman believes the problem stems from physicians not taking time to listen to their patients. He mentions that studies show doctors often interrupt their patients within seconds of the patients starting to explain their condition. The doctors start almost immediately asking narrowing questions. The author says that these physicians have often already started reaching conclusions when they have only slight evidence. Important clues that the patients know are never uncovered by the medical professionals. The book includes many harrowing stories in which patients were treated for the wrong condition because the doctors rushed diagnosis.
Groopman's prescription for doctors is learning to do better interviews, asking open ended-questions and listening. As a reference librarian, I can not help but take notice of this. This is exactly the mandate for the reference interview. First determine what the client really is asking. Let them speak. Time spent at the beginning of the process saves time changing directions later. Perhaps there should be library classes in medical school, and medical students should spend some time at a reference desk.
Groopman's book is already very popular. Every library should have it.
Groopman, Jerome E. How Doctor's Think. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. ISBN 9780618610037