Med Decis Making. 2021 May 8:272989X211011160. doi: 10.1177/0272989X211011160. Online ahead of print.
Previous research has described physicians' reluctance to use computerized diagnostic aids (CDAs) but has never experimentally examined the effects of not consulting an aid that was readily available. Experiment 1. Participants read about a diagnosis made either by a physician or an auto mechanic (to control for perceived expertise). Half read that a CDA was available but never actually consulted; no mention of a CDA was made for the remaining half. For the physician, failure to consult the CDA had no significant effect on competence ratings for either the positive or negative outcome. For the auto mechanic, failure to consult the CDA actually increased competence ratings following a negative but not a positive outcome. Negligence judgments were greater for the mechanic than for the physician overall. Experiment 2. Using only a negative outcome, we included 2 different reasons for not consulting the aid and provided accuracy information highlighting the superiority of the CDA over the physician. In neither condition was the physician rated lower than when no aid was mentioned. Ratings were lower when the physician did not trust the CDA and, surprisingly, higher when the physician believed he or she already knew what the CDA would say. Finally, consistent with our previous research, ratings were also high when the physician consulted and then followed the advice of a CDA and low when the CDA was consulted but ignored. Individual differences in numeracy did not qualify these results. Implications for the literature on algorithm aversion and clinical practice are discussed.