Hindsight in advance: Does intuition have a place in evidence based clinical practice?

'Gut feel' drawn by Emily Turner Aged 12
‘Gut feel’ drawn by Emily Turner Aged 12

I’ve always said I don’t believe in intuition but it’s not that I don’t believe exactly, it’s just that I think intuition is actually tiny bits of evidence that we piece together in ways that we can’t articulate logically without even noticing. Think Sherlock but not quite so extreme! My kids have always said I have very long antennae. “Mum always knows’ they’d say, and it’s true that I seem to notice, perhaps more often than others, when things just don’t add up.
When I was 15, I was assaulted on a bus. Afterwards, when I was being interviewed, I said to the police “I knew there was something strange about him straight away”. She asked me why? over and over and I couldn’t answer. It was just a gut feel, a sixth sense, I just knew, a feeling in my water, something told me, I had a hunch… We have so many phrases to describe it.
It came to me later; he sat next to me. No-one does that on a near empty bus. I guess there will have been other things too. His facial expression, the trail of his eyes as he looked around before where deciding to sit, his body language, how close he sat etc. All of which my brain will have computed and raised an alarm- all is not well.
I was as feisty a 15 year old as I am now and my sixth sense about the man meant I was ready and prepared. I saw him off and all was fine. I believe that my intuition helped to prevent something very serious from occurring.
What can we learn from this? Well with hindsight, the evidence (eg he sat next to me on a near empty bus) was blindingly obvious. What if we could access this evidence in advance? What if we could use intuition systematically in some way to improve patient safety?
When a parent of a sick child says, “I just know there’s something wrong” even when the clinical signs are absent? When an intensive care nurse has a gut feel that despite the monitors, their patient is about to deteriorate. When an experienced consultant says, “I’m just not happy with this, I want to do one more investigation” What if we could capture the evidence relating to these circumstances to allow our clinical staff to act in order to prevent a patient from deteriorating rather than simply responding to it?
I think intuition is potentially hindsight in advance. What would it mean for the safety of your patients if you could use it?