Like any tool an algorithm can be beneficial or harmful depending on how it is used.

Some factors that may contribute to misuse of a clinical algorithm:

(1) incorrect or outdated data

(2) incorrect units

(3) selecting the wrong algorithm for the job (contraindicated, wrong population, etc)

(4) failure to validate

(5) incorrect use of results

(6) failure to question results from a clinical perspective (do they make sense)


A person who is unfamiliar with a condition should probably not rely on the result of an algorithm alone, but rather consult a more knowledgeable clinician.

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