Development and evaluation of a clinical reasoning curriculum as part of an Internal Medicine Residency Program

Shwetha Iyer, Erin Goss, Casey Browder, Gerald Paccione, Julia Arnsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Errors in medicine are common and often tied to diagnosis. Educating physicians about the science of cognitive decision-making, especially during medical school and residency when trainees are still forming clinical habits, may enhance awareness of individual cognitive biases and has the potential to reduce diagnostic errors and improve patient safety. The authors aimed to develop, implement and evaluate a clinical reasoning curriculum for Internal Medicine residents. The authors developed and delivered a clinical reasoning curriculum to 47 PGY2 residents in an Internal Medicine Residency Program at a large urban hospital. The clinical reasoning curriculum consists of six to seven sessions with the specific aims of: (1) educating residents on cognitive steps and reasoning strategies used in clinical reasoning; (2) acknowledging the pitfalls of clinical reasoning and learning how cognitive biases can lead to clinical errors; (3) expanding differential diagnostic ability and developing illness scripts that incorporate discrete clinical prediction rules; and (4) providing opportunities for residents to reflect on their own clinical reasoning (also known as metacognition). Forty-seven PGY2 residents participated in the curriculum (2013-2016). Self-assessed comfort in recognizing and applying clinical reasoning skills increased in 15 of 15 domains (p < 0.05 for each). Resident mean scores on the knowledge assessment improved from 58% pre-urriculum to 81% post curriculum (p = 0.002). A case vignette-based clinical reasoning curriculum can effectively increase residents' knowledge of clinical reasoning concepts and improve residents' self-assessed comfort in recognizing and applying clinical reasoning skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 2019


  • clinical reasoning
  • medical education
  • metacognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and evaluation of a clinical reasoning curriculum as part of an Internal Medicine Residency Program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this