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London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2021. ISBN 9781528627016. 

Lack of appropriate follow up of diagnostic imaging can result in care delays, patient harm, and death. This report summarizes an investigation of 25 imaging failures in the British National Health Service (NHS). The analysis identified communication and coordination issues resulting in lack of action and reporting of unanticipated findings to properly advance care. Recommendations to improve imaging in the NHS include use of previous analyses to enhance learning from failure.

Fournier JP, Amélineau JB, Hild S, et al. Eur J Gen Pract. 2021;27(1):142-151.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised new patient safety concerns. This study examined patient safety incidents in primary care settings in France during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 132 reported incidents, 44% related to delayed diagnosis, assessments and referrals. Reported incidents less commonly related to cancellation of care, home confinement-related incidents, and inappropriate medication discontinuation.
Kasick RT, Melvin JE, Perera ST, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:209-217.
Diagnostic errors can result in increased length of stay and unplanned hospital readmissions. To reduce readmissions, this hospital implemented a diagnostic time-out to increase the frequency of documented differential diagnosis in pediatric patients admitted with abdominal pain. Results showed marginal improvement in quality of differential diagnosis.

Medscape Medical News. May 12, 2021.

Delays and mistakes in health care for distinct patient populations hold improvement lessons for the broader system. This news story highlights problems in correctional system cancer diagnoses and treatment that may indicate other types of prison care delivery problems.
Hensgens RL, El Moumni M, IJpma FFA, et al. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2020;46:1367-1374.
Missed injuries and delayed diagnoses are an ongoing problem in trauma care. This cohort study conducted at a large trauma center found that inter-hospital transfer of severely injured patients increases the risk of delayed detection of injuries. For half of these patients, the new diagnoses led to a change in treatment course. These findings highlight the importance of clinician vigilance when assessing trauma patients.

US Food and Drug Administration: November 3, 2020.

False-positive results contribute to patient and family discomfort and harm. This announcement shares information for clinicians to improve the reliability of the COVID-19 testing process and highlights government- and staff-level actions to support effective testing.
Auerbach AD, O'Leary KJ, Greysen SR, et al. J Hosp Med. 2020;15:483-488.
Based on a survey of hospital medicine groups at academic medical centers in the United States (conducted April 2020), the authors of this study characterized inpatient adaptations to care for non-ICU COVID-19 patients. Sites reported rapid expansion of respiratory isolation units (RIUs – dedicated units for patients with known or suspected COVID-19), an emphasis on telemedicine for patient evaluation, and implementation of approaches to minimize room entry. In addition, nearly half of responding sites reported diagnostic errors involving COVID-19 (missing non-COVID-19 diagnoses among infected patients and missing COVID-19 diagnoses in patients admitted for other reasons).
Dadlez NM, Adelman J, Bundy DG, et al. Ped Qual Saf. 2020;5:e299-e305.
Diagnostic errors, including missed diagnoses of adolescent depression, elevated blood pressure, and delayed response to abnormal lab results, are common in pediatric primary care. Building upon previous work, this study used root cause analyses to identify the failure points and contributing factors to these errors. Omitted process steps included failure to screen for adolescent depression, failure to recognize and act on abnormal blood pressure values, and failure to notify families of abnormal lab results. Factors contributing most commonly to these errors were patient volume, inadequate staffing, clinic environment, electronic and written communication, and provider knowledge.
Taylor M, Kepner S, Gardner LA, et al. Patient Safety. 2020;2:16-27.
To assess the impact of COVID-19 on patient harm and potential areas of improvement for healthcare facilities, the authors analyzed data reported to one state’s adverse event reporting system. The authors identified 343 adverse events between January 1 and April 15, 2020. The most common factors associated with patient safety concerns in COVID-19-related events involved laboratory testing, process/protocol (e.g., staff failed to use sign-in sheets to monitor interactions with COVID-19 positive patients), and isolation integrity.

Singh H, Bradford A, Goeschel C. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; April 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0040-1-EF.

This issue brief discusses a sociotechnical approach to understanding safe diagnosis and the range of data sources required for the follow-up and tracking of diagnostic information. The publication recommends a strategy to support health care organizations in identifying and beginning to measure diagnostic error to enable learning.

American College of Radiology. March 11, 2020.

As COVID-19 spreads globally, there is growing interest in methods for rapid diagnosis and the risk of diagnostic error. Delayed diagnosis of COVID-19 may lead to worse patient outcomes and increased exposure of healthy individuals to the novel coronavirus. Two early studies suggested that chest CT may have a sensitivity as high as 97%. However, higher quality studies have shown that the sensitivity of chest CT is only 67-93% among patients with viral pneumonia and imaging features must be interpreted with caution when the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection is low. Based on the risks of misdiagnosis and viral transmission, the American College of Radiology recommends that CT should not be used to screen for or as a first-line test to diagnose COVID-19. CT should be reserved for hospitalized, symptomatic patients with specific clinical indications.  
Gill S, Mills PD, Watts BV, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e898-e903.
This retrospective cohort study used root cause analysis (RCA) to examine safety reports from emergency departments at Veterans Health Administration hospitals over a two-year period. Of the 144 cases identified, the majority involved delays in care (26%), elopements (15%), suicide attempts and deaths (10%), inappropriate discharges (10%) and errors following procedures (10%). RCA revealed that primary contributory factors leading to adverse events were knowledge/educational deficits (11%) and policies/procedures that were either inadequate (11%) or lacking standardization (10%).
Macrae C. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:495-498.
The unintended risks associated with integrating artificial intelligence (AI) systems into health care are a popular topic of debate. This commentary suggests that strong guidance is necessary to reduce risks while capitalizing on the potential inherent in AI to enhance decision-making, diagnosis, and risk management.
Pallok K, De Maio F, Ansell DA. N Engl J Med. 2019;380:1489-1493.
This editorial discusses how structural racism contributes to health inequities between blacks and whites in the United States, with an emphasis on cancer care. The authors propose three strategies for addressing structural racism in healthcare: (1) clinicians can make the invisible visible by examining disparities in their practices and exploring disparities in patient-level quality measures; (2) health care organizations can engage the community in an effort to change the accepted explanatory narrative, from one about biology or behavior to a story of a pathological social system that can be improved, and; (3) institutions can make systemic changes to eliminate structural racism by engaging in quality improvement efforts, educating healthcare workers, updating technical skills, and using patient navigators to connect patients to necessary services.
Schiff GD, Martin SA, Eidelman DH, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2018;169:643-645.
Safe diagnosis is a complex challenge that requires multidisciplinary approaches to achieve lasting improvement. The authors worked with a multidisciplinary panel to build a 10-element framework outlining steps that support conservative diagnosis. Recommendation highlights include a renewed focus on history-taking and physician examination, as discussed in a PSNet perspective. They also emphasize the importance of continuity between clinicians and patients to build trust and foster timely diagnosis. Taken together with recommendations for enhanced communication between specialist and generalist clinicians and more judicious use of diagnostic testing, this report is a comprehensive approach to reducing overdiagnosis and overtreatment.