The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology to potentially improve care timeliness and diagnostic accuracy. This commentary provides a grounded assessment of this potential by examining clinician knowledge, physician examination skills, and health record data factors that affect the effect of AI chatbots as a tool driving diagnostic safety.
Murphy DR, Zimolzak AJ, Upadhyay DK, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2023;30:1526-1531.
Measuring diagnostic performance is essential to identifying opportunities for improvement. In this study, researchers developed and evaluated two electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) to assess the quality of colorectal and lung cancer diagnosis. Each measure used data from the electronic health record (EHR) to identify abnormal test results, evidence of appropriate follow-up, and exclusions that signified unnecessary follow-up. The authors describe the measure testing results and outline the challenges in working with unstructured EHR data.
Cifra CL, Custer JW, Smith CM, et al. Crit Care Med. 2023;Epub May 29.
Diagnostic errors remain a major healthcare concern. This study was a retrospective record review of 882 pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patients to identify diagnostic errors using the Revised Safer Dx tool. Diagnostic errors were found in 13 (1.5%) patients, most commonly associated with atypical presentation and diagnostic uncertainty at admission.
Mahajan P, Grubenhoff JA, Cranford J, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2023;12:e002062.
Missed diagnostic opportunities often involve multiple process breakdowns and can lead to serious avoidable patient harm. Based on a web-based survey of 1,594 emergency medicine physicians, missed diagnostic opportunities most frequently occur in children who present to the emergency department with undifferentiated symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain, fever, vomiting) and often involve issues related to the patient/parent-provider interaction, such as misinterpreting patient history or inadequate physical exam.
Zwaan L, Smith KM, Giardina TD, et al. Patient Educ Couns. 2023;110:107650.
Improving diagnosis and diagnostic error-related harm is a major focus within patient safety. Building on previous research, patients and patient advocates participated in a systematic prioritization exercise and prioritized ten diagnostic error reduction research priorities. Prioritized questions focused on improving care integration/coordination, communication between clinicians and patients/caregivers, improving patient reporting systems, and improved understanding of implicit bias, and underlying factors increasing risk for diagnostic errors among vulnerable patient groups. The authors note that these priorities differed more than those identified previously by diagnostic safety experts and stakeholders.
Sloane JF, Donkin C, Newell BR, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2023;38:1526-1531.
Interruptions during diagnostic decision-making and clinical tasks can adversely impact patient care. This article reviews empirically-tested strategies from healthcare and cognitive psychology that can inform future research on mitigating the effects of interruptions during diagnostic decision-making. The authors highlight strategies to minimize the negative impacts of interruptions and strategies to prevent distractions altogether; in addition, they propose research priorities within the field of diagnostic safety.
Singh H, Mushtaq U, Marinez A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:581-590.
Diagnostic error continues to be a significant safety problem. Using a multimethod approach, this study developed a checklist of ten high-priority practices for diagnostic excellence which healthcare organizations can implement to address diagnostic errors. Priority practices include promoting speaking up behaviors through a just culture and psychologically safe environment; patient and family engagement in identifying, understanding, and addressing diagnostic safety concerns; and using multidisciplinary perspectives (including human factors and informatics) to understand factors contributing to diagnostic safety events.
Bradford A, Shofer M, Singh H. Int J Qual Health Care. 2022;34:mzac068.
Learning from diagnostic error is a complex undertaking. This commentary introduces Measure Dx, a tool providing guidance for health care organizations to identify and evaluate diagnostic errors to support improvement.
Giardina TD, Shahid U, Mushtaq U, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:3965-3972.
Achieving diagnostic safety requires multidisciplinary approaches. Based on interviews with safety leaders across the United States, this article discusses how different organizations approach diagnostic safety. Respondents discuss barriers to implementing diagnostic safety activities as well as strategies to overcome barriers, highlighting the role of patient engagement and dedicated diagnostic safety champions.
Giardina TD, Hunte H, Hill MA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:770-778.
The 2015 National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare defined diagnostic error as “the failure to (a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient's health problem(s) or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient.” This review and interviews with subject matter experts explored how the NASEM definition of diagnostic error has been operationalized in the literature. Of the sixteen included studies, only five operationalized the definition and only three studied communicating with the patient. The authors recommend formulating a set of common approaches to operationalize each of the three components of the NASEM definition. Patients and family should be included in defining the construct of “communication to the patient.”
Bradford A, Shahid U, Schiff GD, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:521-525.
Common Formats for Event Reporting allow organizations to collect and share standardized adverse event data. This study conducted a usability assessment of AHRQ’s proposed Common Formats Event Reporting for Diagnostic Safety (CFER-DS). Feedback from eight patient safety experts was generally positive, although they also identified potential reporter burden, with each report taking 30-90 minutes to complete. CFER-DS Version 1.0 is now available.
Meyer AND, Scott TMT, Singh H. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e228568.
Delayed communication of abnormal test results can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays, patient harm, and malpractice claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs specifies abnormal test results be communicated to the patient within seven days if treatment is required, and within 14 days if no treatment is required. In the first full year of the program, 71% of abnormal test results and 80% of normal test results were communicated to the patient within the specified timeframes. Performance varied by facility and type of test.
Giardina TD, Choi DT, Upadhyay DK, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:1091-1100.
Most patients can now access their provider visit notes via online portals and many have reported mistakes such as diagnostic errors or missed allergies. This study asked patients who may be “at-risk” for diagnostic error about perceived concerns in their visit notes. Patients were more likely to report having concerns if they did not trust their provider and did not have a good feeling about the visit. Soliciting patient concerns may be one way to improve transparency regarding diagnostic errors and trust in providers.
Fischer H, Hahn EE, Li BH, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:222-232.
While falls are common in older adults, there was a 31% increase in death due to falls in the U.S. from 2007-2016, partially associated with the increase in older adults in the population. This mixed methods study looked at the prevalence, risk factors, and contributors to potentially harmful medication dispensed after a fall/fracture of patients using the Potentially Harmful Drug-Disease Interactions in the Elderly (HEDIS DDE) codes. There were 113,809 patients with a first time fall; 35.4% had high-risk medications dispensed after their first fall. Interviews with 22 physicians identified patient reluctance to report falls and inconsistent assessment, and documentation of falls made it challenging to consider falls when prescribing medications.
Sittig DF, Sengstack P, Singh H. JAMA. 2022;327:719-720.
Electronic health records (EHRs) serve an important role in clinical communication improvement while harboring threats to safety if not implemented and used correctly. This commentary discusses elements of a guidance package to enhance EHR safety through a 5-step assessment process.