Area9 Lyceum Blog

The Danger of Unconscious Incompetence in Healthcare

Posted by Area9 on Aug 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Unconscious incompetence is when you don’t know that you don’t know. You think you are doing one aspect of your job correctly when you actually aren’t. Our data shows that employees can be 15-40% unconsciously incompetent in critical aspects of their job. It’s a problem that hits every industry and affects efficiency and productivity everywhere. But in certain sectors, unconscious incompetence can be even more harmful — healthcare is one of these. 

It’s easy to see why not knowing that you don’t know could be dangerous in an emergency room: people’s lives are at stake. Unconscious incompetence means a higher risk of patient injury or death, misdiagnosis, and malpractice.

But how do you reduce a problem that is present everywhere?

Adaptive Learning Detects and Eliminates Unconscious Incompetence in Healthcare


Adaptive Learning is a training method that specializes in rooting out unconscious incompetence and correcting it, preventing it from affecting your staff. Adaptive Learning technology is based on the fact that all learners are unique and so require personalized training.

If two physicians can both be considered 90% competent, their 10% of incompetence will likely be in different areas. Adaptive Learning seeks out the 10% that is unique to each physician and exposes that physician to personalized training in order to reduce that incompetence.

Traditional teaching methods present information and then quiz the learner to see how much they understand. Adaptive Learning doesn’t just quiz the learner: it helps the learner self-assess their progress. The Adaptive Learning biological model can detect when a learner guessed a correct answer, or when they got a wrong answer but were incredibly confident it was the right one.

This data gives a much more complete picture of what a physician thinks they know, but actually doesn’t. Once the problem area is identified, Adaptive Learning’s personalized learning approach can make sure the learner understands what they are getting wrong, and presents specific material designed to target that gap in knowledge in order to correct the mistake.

Personalized learning is the best choice for correcting unconscious incompetence in healthcare. Correcting unconscious incompetence means fewer mistakes and accidents, and less time wasted.

Want to learn more about how Adaptive Learning roots out unconscious incompetence at its source?

Download this infographic for further information.

Adaptive E-Learning infographic

Topics: Healthcare Training