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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.
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.
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.

Bajaj K, de Roche A, Goffman D. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 20(21)-0040-6-EF.

Maternal safety is threatened by systemic biases, care complexities, and diagnostic issues. This issue brief explores the role of diagnostic error in maternal morbidity and mortality, the preventability of common problems such as maternal hemorrhage, and the importance of multidisciplinary efforts to realize improvement. The brief focuses on events occurring during childbirth and up to a week postpartum.
Kukielka E. Patient Saf. 2021;3:18-27.
Trauma patients, who often suffer multiple, severe injuries and who may arrive to the Emergency Department (ED) unconscious, are vulnerable to adverse events. Using data reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS), researchers in this study evaluated the safety challenges of caring for patients presenting to the ED after a motor vehicle collision. Common challenges included issues with monitoring, treatment, evaluation, and/or documentation, patient falls, medication errors, and problems with transfers.

The handshake antimicrobial stewardship program (HS-ASP) was developed and implemented at Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO). In 2014, the CHOC HS-ASP team began labeling specific interventions as “Great Catches” which were considered to have altered, or had the potential to alter, the patient’s trajectory of care. CHOC researchers used these "Great Catches" to identify potential diagnostic errors.

Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478:1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
Burrus S, Hall M, Tooley E, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2020030346.
Based on analysis of four years of data submitted to the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (CHILDPSO), researchers sought to identify types of serious safety events and contributing factors. Three main groups of serious safety events were identified: patient care management, procedural errors, and product or device errors. Contributing factors included lack of situational awareness, process failures, and failure to communicate effectively.
Hansen J, Terreros A, Sherman A, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021050555.
Physicians have demonstrated knowledge gaps in accurately diagnosing child maltreatment. This article describes the implementation of a system-wide daily review of patients with concerns of maltreatment, allowing child abuse pediatricians (CAPs) to intervene and address potential errors (e.g., history taking, injury identification, testing for occult injuries, and cognitive analysis) and to identify patients who require immediate intervention. Over a 30-month period, the program identified potential diagnostic errors and safe discharge concerns, many of which led to new or changed diagnoses.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; August 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 21-0047-2-EF.

Patient and family engagement is core to effective and safe diagnosis. This new toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality promotes two strategies to promote meaningful engagement and communication with patients to improve diagnostic safety: (1) a patient note sheet to help patients share their story and symptoms and (2) orientation steps to support clinicians listening and “presence” during care encounters.
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.
Searns JB, Williams MC, MacBrayne CE, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:347-352.
This study leveraged “Great Catches” as part of an existing handshake antimicrobial stewardship program (HS-ASP) to identify potential diagnostic errors. Using a validated tool, researchers found that 12% of “Great Catch” cases involved diagnostic error. These cases included a diagnostic recommendation from the HS-ASP team (e.g., recommendations to consider alternative diagnoses, request additional testing, or additional interpretation of laboratory results). As these diagnostic recommendations often flagged diagnostic errors, this suggests that the HS-ASP model can be leveraged to identify and intervene on diagnostic errors in real time.
Fernandez Branson C, Williams M, Chan TM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:1002-1009.
Receiving feedback from colleagues may improve clinicians’ diagnostic reasoning skills. By building on existing models such as Safer Dx, and collaborating with professionals outside of the healthcare field, researchers developed the Diagnosis Learning Cycle, a model intended to improve diagnosis through peer feedback.
Vaghani V, Wei L, Mushtaq U, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:2202-2211.
Based on the Safer Dx and SPADE frameworks, researchers applied a symptom-disease pair-based electronic trigger (e-trigger) to identify patients hospitalized for stroke who had been previously discharged from the emergency department with a diagnosis of headache or dizziness in the preceding 30 days. Analyses show that the e-trigger identified missed diagnoses of stroke with a modest positive predictive value.
Dahm MR, Williams M, Crock C. Patient Educ Couns. 2022;105:252-256.
Cognitive biases and poor communication among providers can lead to diagnostic errors. This commentary presents the links between biases, provider communication, and diagnostic error, and proposes how patient engagement and health communication research can improve the diagnostic process.

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.

Carr S. ImproveDx. July 2021;8(4).

Adverse event reporting can clarify when mistakes happen and what reduction strategies to apply. This article describes existing efforts to examine diagnostic error through reporting and highlights tactics being employed.