Dave N, Bui S, Morgan C, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:297-307.
This systematic review provides an update to McDonald et al’s 2013 review of strategies to reduce diagnostic error. Technique (e.g., changes in equipment) and technology-based (e.g. trigger tools) interventions were the most studied intervention types. Future research on educational and personnel changes would be useful to determine the value of these types of interventions.
Zwaan L, El-Kareh R, Meyer AND, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:2943-2951.
Reducing harm related to diagnostic error remains a major focus within patient safety. Based on input from an international group of experts and stakeholders, the authors identified priority questions to advance diagnostic safety research. High-priority areas include strengthening teamwork factors (such as the role of nurses in diagnosis), addressing system factors, and strategies for engaging patients in the diagnostic process.
Avesar M, Erez A, Essakow J, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:358-367.
Disruptive and rude behavior can hinder teamwork and diminish patient safety. This randomized, simulation-based study including attendings, fellows, and residents explored whether rudeness during handoff affects the likelihood for challenging a diagnostic error. The authors found that rudeness may disproportionally hinder diagnostic performance among less experienced physicians.
Griffith PB, Doherty C, Smeltzer SC, et al. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2020;33:862-871.
Cognitive debiasing can help reduce cognitive bias and improve clinical decision-making. This scoping review characterized cognitive debiasing strategies used by student health care providers (primarily medical students and residents) to reduce cognitive error. Structured reflection and education initiatives demonstrated the greatest improvements in diagnostic accuracy.
Pelaccia T, Messman AM, Kline JA. Patient Edu Couns. 2020;103:1650-1656.
The hectic and complex environment of emergency care can reduce diagnostic safety. This article discusses clinical reasoning and decision-making strategies used by emergency medicine physicians, contributing factors to diagnostic errors occurring in emergency medicine (e.g., overconfidence, cognitive stress, anchoring bias), and strategies to reduce the risk of error. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving diagnostic delay in the emergency department.
Gupta A, Quinn M, Saint S, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:167-175.
This article describes the use of a case-based simulation to explore how physicians reason, create differential diagnoses, and ultimately achieve a correct diagnosis. Participating physicians who achieved the correct diagnosis (herpes zoster) utilized systems-based or anatomic approaches, rather than focuses on life-threatening diagnoses alone, and employed debiasing strategies.
Russo S, Berg K, Davis J, et al. J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2020;7:238212052092899.
This study involving a survey of incoming interns found that nearly all medical interns believe that inadequate physical examination can lead to adverse events and that 45% have witnessed an adverse event due to inadequate examination. The authors propose a five-pronged intervention for improving physical examination training.
Isbell LM, Boudreaux ED, Chimowitz H, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:815–825.
Research has suggested that health care providers’ emotions may impact patient safety. These authors conducted 86 semi-structured interviews with emergency department (ED) nurses and physicians to better understand their emotional triggers, beliefs about emotional influences on patient safety, and emotional management strategies. Patients often triggered both positive and negative emotions; hospital- or systems-level factors primarily triggered negative emotions. Providers were aware that negative emotions can adversely impact clinical decision-making and place patients at risk; future research should explore whether emotional regulation strategies can mitigate these safety risks.
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