They were then asked "Given all information provided, what one diagnosis concerning the chief complaint is most likely?"
They were then asked if they would order additional labs and imaging, seek a second opinion from a colleague within internal medicine, seek a "curbside" or more informal consult with another doctor, seek a formal referral from a specialist or use reference materials, such as internet and electronic medical documents or books.
The physicians tested had a mean experience level of 16.5 years. Six in 10 were born in the U.S. and nearly two-thirds received a U.S. medical education and 61% were affiliated with non-academic institutions.
In an invited commentary, Gurpreet Dhaliwal, MD, of the University of California San Francisco Department of Medicine, said Singh's and Meyer's report "suggest that physicians may not request the full complement of point-of-care resources—references and colleagues—to facilitate diagnosis when we need it the most, and that confidence is not a reliable indicator of when we need help."