The dentist bib as choice architecture

Talya Miron-Shatz, a psychology post-doctorate at Princeton with Daniel Kahneman, recently received a crown and a root canal in the same sitting from two different dentists. Since the two procedures were separate from one another, neither dentist seemed to know the local anesthetic that the other was providing to Talya. With poor communication, Talya almost received a double dose of Novocaine (or something similar). There has to be a better way to prevent these kind of errors, she thought.

And here’s my two cents for human engineering. Dental patients wear a bib around their neck. How about if the (dental) office purchased a Sharpie, and had each doctor write down how many injections he/she gave the patient, and their exact location. Better still, how about if this was pre-marked on the bib?

Read the full post as Psychology Today.

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2 Responses to “The dentist bib as choice architecture”

  1. Tristan Says:

    Interesting solution but it’s rubbish.

    Does anyone who posts on this blog actually read about medical human error prevention? I’m not overly having a go: it’s just that this field is very old and tested and the problems with this risk control are obvious.

    The position of the control is excellent – it’s unlikely that you would miss the injection notice on the bib. However, communication through free form writing is notouriously unreliable in medicine – think of the old jokes about Doctors handwriting being terrible.

    It might even make the situation worse – they might be more likely to forget to write on the bib and have worse written communication were as previously the problem was verbal communication which in a dental setting with a limited number of patients might be reasonably reliable.

  2. Cosmetic Dentist Cleveland Says:

    I think its not a proper solution. We should think of another one.

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