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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Finding diagnostic errors in children admitted to the PICU.

Davalos MC, Samuels K, Meyer AND, et al. Pediatric critical care medicine : a journal of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies. 2017;18:265-271.

Despite increased focus on improving diagnosis as a major patient safety issue, measuring and defining diagnostic error remains challenging. A prior study showed that application of the Safer Dx Instrument—a structured tool to help identify diagnostic errors in the primary care setting—enabled improved detection of diagnostic errors compared to chart review alone. In this study, researchers tested the ability of the instrument to identify diagnostic errors in high-risk patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. Out of 214 high-risk patient charts, 26 were found to contain a diagnostic error. Two clinicians independently reviewed the records using the tool and reviewer agreement was 93.6%, suggesting that the Safer Dx Instrument may be useful in additional clinical settings. An Annual Perspective discussed the challenges associated with diagnostic error.