Doctors and researchers use critical thinking in the evidence-based medicine, this approach to medicine needs many skills and disposition critical thinking has. But you may think that if you aren’t a doctor you don’t need critical thinking because doctors are certified professionals and they have all the necessary skills to deal with diseases. Doctors may be certified professionals, but not all doctor education curricula include critical thinking courses. Doctors may also make bad decisions due to lack of time, information, or desire to reduce the mental load. I cases like these only you as a patient can check doctor’s decision and avoid treatment mistakes. Critical thinking can provide a necessary framework to evaluate information a doctor gives.
You can also ask a number of questions like these: do you read articles in peer-reviewed journals? Have you read anything in these journals regarding my case? Contemporary medicine is changing rapidly and if a doctor doesn’t want to be informed he will make less than optimal decisions.
You can also check what kind of treatment a doctor proposes. If he proposes known useless drugs you probably need to find another doctor. This is also a beginning of critical analysis of doctor’s decisions: you need to verify the usefulness of a particular drag in independent sources like peer-reviewed articles and compilations from them. You also need to understand some of medicine language to correctly interpret what you have found.
If a doctor tells you that you should take drug A and not drug B you can make a next step and compare these two drugs using the similar approach. If you are lucky you can find articles with a direct comparison of two drugs. If you are not you may need to dig more and check receptors affinity, side effects, therapeutic indexes, and other properties of drugs. You may come across another drug and compare to it, then ask your doctor about it. You may again find that doctor prescribed you some crap drugs and you need another doctor’s expertise.
Using critical thinking as a patient isn’t easy but ultimately you can make better and more informed decisions about your health and the health of your family and friends. And better decisions in this area can lead to dramatic improvements in your life in the future compared to avoiding critical thinking.