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Cooper A, Carson-Stevens A, Cooke M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21:139.
Overcrowding in the emergency department (ED) can result in increased frequency of medication errors, in-hospital cardiac arrest, and other patient safety concerns. This study examined diagnostic errors after introducing a new healthcare service model in which emergency departments are co-located with general practitioner (GP) services. Potential priority areas for improvement include appropriate triage, diagnostic test interpretation, and communication between GP and ED services.
Gibson BA, McKinnon E, Bentley RC, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021;Epub Oct 21.
A shared understanding of terminology is critical to providing appropriate treatment and care. This study assessed pathologist and clinician agreement of commonly-used phrases used to describe diagnostic uncertainty in surgical pathology reports. Phrases with the strongest agreement in meaning were “diagnostic of” and “consistent with”. “Suspicious for” and “compatible with” had the weakest agreement. Standardized diagnostic terms may improve communication.
Shen L, Levie A, Singh H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:71-80.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges associated with diagnostic error. This study used natural language processing to identify and categorize diagnostic errors occurring during the pandemic. The study compared a review of all patient safety reports explicitly mentioning COVID-19, and using natural language processing, identified additional safety reports involving COVID-19 diagnostic errors and delays. This innovative approach may be useful for organizations wanting to identify emerging risks, including safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Centola D, Guilbeault D, Sarkar U, et al. Nature Commun. 2021;12:6585.
Race and gender bias in healthcare remains a public health problem. Study participants were assigned to a control (i.e., independent reflection) or intervention (i.e., “egalitarian” information exchange network) group and asked to provide diagnostic and treatment recommendations for standardized patients (a white man or a black woman). Participants in the intervention group were more likely to recommend appropriate care and showed no bias in final recommendations. The authors note that these findings indicate that clinician network interventions might be useful in healthcare settings to reduce disparities in patient treatment.
Kotwal S, Fanai M, Fu W, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:489-496.
Previous studies have used virtual patient cases to help trainees and practicing physicians improve diagnostic accuracy. Using virtual patients, this study found that brief lectures combined with 9 hours of supervised deliberate practice improved the ability of medical interns to correctly diagnose dizziness.
Nassery N, Horberg MA, Rubenstein KB, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:469-478.
Building on prior research on missed myocardial infarction, this study used the SPADE approach to identify delays in sepsis diagnosis. Using claims data, researchers used a ‘look back’ analysis to identify treat-and-release emergency department (ED) visits in the month prior to sepsis hospitalizations and identify common diagnoses linked to downstream sepsis hospitalizations.
Berwick DM. JAMA. 2021;326:2127-2128.
Efforts to improve diagnosis recognize the value in patient-centered care. This commentary outlines how a diagnostician can enfold patient centeredness into their practice, which includes the seeking of knowledge and moderation of actions taken to arrive at a diagnosis. This piece is part of a series on diagnostic excellence.

Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

The impact of diagnostic error is increasingly clarified as research defines primary areas of concern. This grant program will provide 20 seed grants to multidisciplinary teams that include patients. The work will devise and test interventions to improve the diagnostic process and includes areas of special interest exploring diagnosis in the older adult population and on cross-discipline teams. The 2022 application process closes March 25, 2022.

Bergl PA, Nanchal RS, eds. Crit Care Clin. 2022;38(1):1-158.

Critical care diagnosis is complicated by factors such as stress, patient acuity and uncertainty. This special issue summarizes individual and process challenges to the safety of diagnosis in critical care. Articles included examine educational approaches, teamwork and rethinking care processes as improvement strategies.
Halsey-Nichols M, McCoin N. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2021;39:703-717.
Diagnostic errors among patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with abdominal pain are common. This article summarizes the factors associated with missed diagnoses of abdominal pain in the ED, the types of abdominal pain that are commonly misdiagnosed, and recommended steps for discharging a patient with abdominal pain without a final diagnosis.
Freeman K, Geppert J, Stinton C, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1872.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used and studied in multiple healthcare processes, including detecting patient deterioration and surgical decision making. This literature review focuses on studies using AI to detect breast cancer in mammography screening practice. The authors recommend additional prospective studies before using artificial intelligence in clinical practice. 
Ly DP. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;78:650-657.
A common type of diagnostic error is availability bias, or diagnosing a patient based on experiences with past similar cases. This study examined whether an emergency physician’s recent experience of a patient presenting with shortness of breath and diagnosed with pulmonary embolism increased subsequent pulmonary embolism diagnoses. While pulmonary embolism diagnosis did increase over the following ten days, that effect did not persist over the 50 days following the first 10 days.
Meyer AND, Giardina TD, Khawaja L, et al. Patient Educ Couns. 2021;104:2606-2615.
Diagnostic uncertainty can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. This article provides an overview of the literature on diagnosis-related uncertainty, where uncertainty occurs in the diagnostic process and outlines recommendations for managing diagnostic uncertainty.
Rosenkrantz AB, Siegal D, Skillings JA, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021;18:1310-1316.
Prior research found that cancer, infections, and vascular events (the “big three”) account for nearly half of all serious misdiagnosis-related harm identified in malpractice claims. This retrospective analysis of malpractice claims data from 2008 to 2017 found that oncology-related errors represented the largest source of radiology malpractice cases with diagnostic allegations. Imaging misinterpretation was the primary contributing factor.
Seidl E, Seidl O. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;41:9-17.
Diagnostic safety is a patient safety priority across all medical specialties. Over a five-year period, researchers found that 15% of patients referred for psychosomatic consultations at one university hospital were misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis was primarily attributed to availability bias or other biases. Semi-structured interviews with referring physicians highlight the contributing role of physician attitudes and unusual clinical features.
Bell SK, Bourgeois FC, DesRoches CM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:526-540.
Engaging patients and families in their own care can improve outcomes, safety, and satisfaction. This study brought patients, families, clinicians and experts together to identify patient-reported diagnostic process-related breakdowns. The group identified 7 categories, 40 subcategories, 19 contributing factors and 11 patient-reported impacts. Breakdowns were identified in each step of the diagnostic process.
Sibbald M, Monteiro SD, Sherbino J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:426-433.
Diagnostic safety remains a patient safety priority. This randomized study including emergency medicine and internal medicine physicians as well as medical students found that electronic differential diagnostic support increased the likelihood that the correct diagnosis appeared in the differential, regardless of whether the tool was used early or late in the diagnostic process.
Cecil E, Bottle A, Majeed A, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2021;71:e547-e554.
There has been an increased focus on patient safety, including missed diagnosis, in primary care in recent years. This cohort study evaluated the incidence of emergency hospital admission within 3 days of a visit with a GP with missed sepsis, ectopic pregnancy, urinary tract infection or pulmonary embolism. Shorter duration of appointment and telephone appointment (compared with in person) were associated with increased incidence of self-referred emergency hospital admission.
Griffin JA, Carr K, Bersani K, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2022;9:77-88.
Diagnostic errors in the acute care setting can result in increased morbidity and mortality. Using the Diagnostic Error Evaluation and Research (DEER) taxonomy, researchers reviewed 16 records of patients whose deaths were associated with at least one medical error. Most (81.3%) patients had at least one diagnostic error and a total of 113 failure points and 30 significant failure points.