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BackTable / VI / Podcast / Episode #264

The Halo Effect

with Dr. Sandeep Bagla

In this episode, cohosts Dr. Aparna Baheti and Dr. Aaron Fritts interview interventional radiologist Dr. Sandeep Bagla about “The Halo Effect”, including how to recognize when you are being subjected to bias, and how to critically evaluate bad outcomes to improve your practice and enhance patient safety.

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The Halo Effect with Dr. Sandeep Bagla on the BackTable VI Podcast)
Ep 264 The Halo Effect with Dr. Sandeep Bagla
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2022, November 21). Ep. 264 – The Halo Effect [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Sandeep Bagla discusses The Halo Effect on the BackTable 264 Podcast

Dr. Sandeep Bagla

Dr. Sandeep Bagla is a practicing interventional radiologist with the Vascular Institute of Virginia and the president of Prostate Centers USA.

Dr. Aparna Baheti discusses The Halo Effect on the BackTable 264 Podcast

Dr. Aparna Baheti

Dr. Aparna Baheti is a practicing Interventional Radiologist in Tacoma, Washington.

Dr. Aaron Fritts discusses The Halo Effect on the BackTable 264 Podcast

Dr. Aaron Fritts

Dr. Aaron Fritts is a Co-Founder of BackTable and a practicing interventional radiologist in Dallas, Texas.


Dr. Bagla begins by describing the halo effect. The halo effect describes the tendency for people to overestimate the value of individual positive attributes when evaluating the whole. This can happen when we form our opinions of people, techniques, and even medical devices. The opposite is also true, named the horn effect, where we tend to overestimate negative attributes. They are both forms of bias. In interventional radiology, the halo effect can impact case outcomes by contributing to operator tunnel vision and the reluctance to waver from the desired way of executing a procedure.

For Dr. Bagla, the idea of the halo effect came about while working with new colleagues, many of whom do things differently than he did. He realized that in IR, physicians do things a certain way because that’s how they learned in training, whether it really is the safest and best way, or just the most familiar. He also sees the horn effect occur often when people start using a new device. If the device doesn’t work well for them the first time, many often refuse to use it in the future based on that first experience. He summarizes by noting that in IR, there are so many opportunities to become biased, whether through the halo effect or the horn effect.

Lastly, Dr. Bagla reviews how he works to avoid these inherent biases. The first step in overcoming this bias is to understand its presence. Next, you must stop and realize that what you are doing is not working, whether due to the procedural approach, the device, or the way you are using the device. Dr. Bagla believes we must be critical of ourselves and try to think outside of our preferred wire, catheter, or device. In order to do this, you must go through the steps and review your checklist in order to determine which step the problem occurred at. Only by doing this can you avoid falling victim to these biases that are so prevalent in medicine.


BackTable Episode 195: Disclosures of Conflicts of Interest

Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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