Avoiding Anchoring Bias in Patient Assessment – Keaton Mattick

Education by the Sea 2024 - Speaker Spotlight - Keaton

Texas’ most engaging EMS conference is approaching swiftly! Education By The Sea arrives in Port Aransas on May 8-10, 2024, and registrations are open through mid-April. Dive into the details of the 2024 conference through our sneak peek series featuring speakers and sessions. 

Meet Chief Keaton Mattick, EMS Division Chief for Bexar County Emergency Service District No. 2. He will present the “Anchors Aweigh: Avoiding Anchoring Bias in Patient Assessment” session on Thursday, May 9, at 9 a.m.

With a career firefighter father, Chief Mattick was immersed in the profession from a young age. This exposure led him to volunteer in his hometown at 16 and embark on EMT school at 18. “I thought I would work as an EMT through college and then start another career. After completing my EMT, I decided to make the fire service my profession”, told Chief Mattick. His department at that time mandated Paramedic certification for crew members, prompting Mattick to pursue further education. Yet, during his studies, he realized that EMS was his calling as much as fire. 

Throughout his career, Chief Mattick deployed with the Texas EMTF to aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and other calamities. These experiences, he affirms, were pivotal moments that presented significant challenges and invaluable lessons. “In this field, anytime you can positively impact someone’s life, it sticks with you,” says Mattick. “The most important lessons I have gained in my career are always to seek education and experiences, constantly challenge yourself, and never forget our goal: to help people,” completed. 

Reasoning Behind the Topic

Patient assessment is the key to making patient care decisions. According to Chief Mattick, preconceived notions – or bias – frequently happen, and they can cloud someone’s judgment. 

“Through my past experiences, and also speaking with other medics, I’ve seen where bias can push our treatment pathways without taking everything into account,” explains Mattick. 

Session Insights

Mattick will introduce various types of bias, using real-life patients’ examples and explaining how they lead to cognitive dissonance. “My intention is to help attendees to look beyond what they potentially perceive as immediately obvious,” Chief Mattick said.

Through his session, Mattick hopes to equip medics with tools to refrain from biases that can lead to errors in patient assessment and treatment. “I hope that medics can apply this class when assessing patients,” he stated. 

Industry Outlook

Chief Mattick perceives the EMS industry as entering exciting times. “I feel like there will be big changes in the future for EMS, and I am excited to be a part of it,” he remarked. He believes that Paramedics will assume a more significant role in the healthcare system, having new opportunities to serve their communities. 

“We are now doing things like whole blood – something I never imagined possible when I started in this industry. I’m consistently amazed by our Paramedics’ work and the advanced skills they bring to care for patients,” states Mattick. 

Don’t miss Chief Mattick’s session “Anchors Aweigh: Avoiding Anchoring Bias in Patient Assessment” on Thursday, May 9, at 9 a.m.

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