The ability to choose the best option available
What is it?
Decision making is the process of evaluating and critiquing various ideas or concepts based upon logic and reason. It requires the ability to weight the relative merits of one idea over other ideas.
Why is it important?
The role of a doctor is to make decisions that will impact the health of their patients. Every major decision must be analyzed and thought out. Doctors who have skills in this area are invaluable to both their practices/hospitals as well as their patients. Thinking clearly and making reasonable decisions are the hallmarks of a great leader.
Define the Ideal Solution
Before making a decision, we must specifically define the characteristics of a good solution. For example, a doctor might determine that the best course of treatment will be acceptable to the patient, easy to administer, has a high rate of success, and is cost-effective. Each of those criteria can be defined in detail and then used to evaluate the options. Many people leave this step in the problem-solving process out, thinking that the criteria is obvious. It usually isn’t.
The various options that are being considered need to be critically evaluated. Strengths and weaknesses for each option need to be identified and articulated. In other words, put together a list of the pros and cons for each of the possible solutions; that will help you identify the best option.
Get Input from Others
Many of us think that each doctor has to bear the full responsibility for making decisions for his/her individual patients. While that may be true, we should at least get input from as many people as possible. Others may have dealt with a similar case and can give us great insight. Asking people for their perspective can help us see things that we may have overlooked. The most important decisions about particularly tough cases or when considering changes in practice-wide or hospital-wide policy should get as much input as possible.