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Kotwal S, Fanai M, Fu W, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8(4):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.
Halsey-Nichols M, McCoin N. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2021;39(4):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.
Seidl E, Seidl O. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;41(2):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.
Kwok CS, Bennett S, Azam Z, et al. Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2021;20(3):155-162.
Misdiagnosis of cardiovascular conditions can lead to serious patient harm. This systematic review found that misdiagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) occurs in approximately 1-2% of cases, and AMI is commonly diagnosed as other heart conditions, musculoskeletal pain, or gastrointestinal disease. The authors suggest that there are opportunities to reduce cases of missed AMI with better education about atypical symptoms and improved training of electrocardiogram interpretation.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478(6):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.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2021.

Misdiagnosis of severe cardiovascular events is a primary concern to the diagnostic safety community due to its prevalence and potential for harm. This report summarizes a session discussion on the existing evidence base on improving diagnosis for these conditions and explore opportunities for improvement.

Kast S, Gerr M, Black D, et al. “On the Record.” WYPR. August 3, 2021

Misdiagnosis is a persistent challenge for patients and families to navigate. This audio news segment highlights one family's experience with poor care stemming from disrespect and premature closure that resulted in missed diagnosis, unnecessary care, and patient death. The story is coupled with a broader discussion on the extent of diagnostic errors and reasons they occur.
Scott IA, Hubbard RE, Crock C, et al. Intern Med J. 2021;51(4):488-493.
Sound critical thinking skills can help clinicians avoid cognitive biases and diagnostic errors. This article describes three critical thinking skills essential to effective clinical care – clinical reasoning, evidence-informed decision-making, and systems thinking – and approaches to develop these skills during clinician training.
Wong CW, Tafuro J, Azam Z, et al. J Cardiac Failure. 2021;27(9):925-933.
Misdiagnosis of cardiovascular conditions can lead to serious patient harm. This systematic review explored misdiagnosis of heart failure. Based on 10 included studies, the rate of heart failure misdiagnosis ranged from 16.1% (in an inpatient setting) to 68.5% (when general practitioners referred patients to specialists). Included studies found that heart failure is frequently misdiagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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.
Kasick RT, Melvin JE, Perera ST, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8(2):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.
Cifra CL, Sittig DF, Singh H. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(7):591-597.
Accurate and timely feedback about patient outcomes can inform and improve future clinical decision-making; however, many barriers exist that prevent effective feedback. This article suggests a sociotechnical approach using information technology (IT) to provide clinician feedback. Feedback sent using the electronic health record can be provided asynchronously, by any member of the care team, and in a structured format to ensure relevance and usefulness.

Lazris A, Roth AR, Haskell H, et al. Am Fam Physician. 2021;103(12):757-759.  

Communication failures are primary threat to safe care. This commentary shares insights on communication problems that contributed to unsafe medication prescribing from both a clinicians and a patient/family perspective.

Beginning in her teenage years, a woman began "feeling woozy" after high school gym class. The symptoms were abrupt in onset, lasted between 5 to 15 minutes and then subsided after sitting down. Similar episodes occurred occasionally over the following decade, usually related to stress. When she was in her 30s, she experienced a more severe episode of palpitations and went to the emergency department (ED). An electrocardiogram (ECG) was normal and she was discharged with a diagnosis of stress or possible panic attack.

Patel J, Otto E, Taylor JS, et al. Dermatol Online J. 2021;27(3).

In an update to their 2010 article, this review’s authors summarized the patient safety literature in dermatology from 2009 to 2020. In addition to topics covered in the 2010 article, this article also includes diagnostic errors related to telemedicine, laser safety, scope of practice, and infections such as COVID-19. The authors recommend further studies, and reports are needed to reduce errors and improve patient safety.

Cleghorn E. New York, NY: Dutton; 2021. ISBN: 9780593182956.

Women have been affected by implicit bias that undermines the safety of their care and trust in the medical system. This book shares the history anchoring the mindsets driving ineffective care for women and a discussion of the author’s long-term lupus misdiagnosis.

Cifra CL, Westlund E, Ten Eyck P, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8(2):193-198. doi: 10.1515/dx-2020-0023.

Missed sepsis diagnosis can lead to increased morbidity, mortality and length of stay. Using administrative data, this retrospective study estimated the risk of potentially missed pediatric sepsis in several emergency departments. Approximately 8% of pediatric patients admitted to the hospital with sepsis experienced a treat-and-release emergency department visit within the prior 7 days. Administrative data can be helpful for hospitals in identifying cases that require detailed record review as well as evaluating the impact of sepsis alerts and bundles.
Reece JC, Neal EFG, Nguyen P, et al. BMC Cancer. 2021;21(1):373.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is an ongoing patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This systematic review concluded that follow-up of abnormal mammograms in primary care is suboptimal. Findings from included studies indicate that ethnic minorities and women with lower educational attainment were more likely to have inadequate follow-up. Factors influencing follow-up include physician-patient miscommunication, alert fatigue, difficulty obtaining test results or patient records, and logistical barriers. The authors suggest adopting interventions focused on mitigating factors that negatively impact follow-up, such as patient navigation and case management.