Atallah F, Hamm RF, Davidson CM, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;227:B2-B10.
The reduction of cognitive bias is generating increased interest as a diagnostic error reduction strategy. This statement introduces the concept of cognitive bias and discusses methods to manage the presence of bias in obstetrics such as debiasing training and teamwork.
Fawzy A, Wu TD, Wang K, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182:730-738.
Black and brown patients have experienced disproportionately poorer outcomes from COVID-19 infection as compared with white patients. This study found that patients who identified as Asian, Black, or Hispanic may not have received timely diagnosis or treatment due to inaccurately measured pulse oximetry (SpO2). These inaccuracies and discrepancies should be considered in COVID outcome research as well as other respiratory illnesses that rely on SpO2 measurement for treatment.
Understanding human causes of diagnostic errors can lead to more specific targeted, specific recommendations and interventions. Using three classification instruments, researchers examined a series of serious adverse events related to diagnostic errors in the emergency department. Most of the human errors were based on intended actions and could be classified as mistakes or violations. Errors were more frequently made during the assessment and testing phases of the diagnostic process.
Marshall TL, Rinke ML, Olson APJ, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;149:e2020045948D.
Reducing diagnostic errors in pediatric care remains a critical area of research and quality improvement. This narrative review presents the incidence and epidemiology of pediatric diagnostic error and strategies for additional innovative research to develop effective interventions to reduce these errors.
Bastakoti M, Muhailan M, Nassar A, et al. Diagnosis. 2022;9:107-114.
Misdiagnosis in the emergency department (ED) can result in increased morbidity and mortality. This retrospective chart review of patients admitted from the ED to hospital explored the concordance of ED admission and hospital discharge diagnoses. Results show 21.77% of patients had discordant diagnoses; discordant diagnosis was associated with increased length of stay, mortality, and up-triage to ICU.
Diagnostic errors are a significant patient safety issue. This systematic review describes the scope of existing research regarding diagnostic errors in pediatric patients. The authors concluded that there are limited data describing diagnostic errors in pediatric hospital settings. Findings suggest that the prevalence of diagnostic error in pediatric hospitals varied and largely depended on the measurement technique and hospital setting.
Ranji SR, Thomas EJ. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:255-258.
Diagnostic safety interventions have been empirically evaluated but real-world implementation challenges persist. This commentary discusses the importance of incorporating contextual factors (e.g., social, cultural) facing complex healthcare systems into the design of diagnostic safety interventions. The authors provide recommendations for designing studies to improve diagnosis that take contextual factors into consideration.
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.
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.
Horberg MA, Nassery N, Rubenstein KB, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:479-488.
Missed or delayed diagnosis of sepsis can lead to serious patient harm. This study used a Symptom-Disease Pair Analysis of Diagnostic Error (SPADE) “look-forward” analysis to measure potential misdiagnosis of sepsis in patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with treat-and-release fluid and electrolyte disorders (FED) or altered mental status (AMS). FED and AMS were associated with a spike in sepsis hospitalizations in the 7-day period following the ED visit. The authors suggest SPADE could be used to compare sepsis diagnostic performance across institutions and regions; develop interventions for targeted subgroups; and update early warning systems for sepsis diagnosis.
Cifra CL, Custer JW, Singh H, et al. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2021;22:701-712.
Diagnostic errors continue to be a patient safety concern, including in pediatric critical care. This systematic review explored the prevalence, impact, and contributing factors to diagnostic errors in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The most common diagnostic errors occurred in cardiovascular, infectious, congenital, and neurologic conditions; cognitive and systems factors were associated with diagnostic errors. Future research should focus on disease- and systems-level determinants.
Jørgensen IF, Brunak S. NPJ Digital Med. 2021;4(1):12.
Overdiagnosis is a growing area of concern within patient safety. The authors present a generalizable approach for identifying patients at risk of being mis- or overdiagnosed. Using chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients as an example, the authors outline how to create significant, temporal disease trajectories, and compare similarities between these disease trajectories and individual patient disease histories to identify the cases that may signal overdiagnosis.
Mahajan P, Pai C-W, Cosby KS, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:340-346.
Diagnostic error is an ongoing patient safety challenge that can result in patient harm. This literature review identified a set of emergency department (ED)-focused electronic health record (EHR) triggers (e.g., death following ED visit, change in treating service after admission, unscheduled return to the ED resulting in admission) and non-EHR based signals (e.g., patient complaints, referral to risk management) with the potential to screen ED visits for diagnostic safety events.
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.
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.
Diagnostic error is an ongoing patient safety challenge, and can be exacerbated by the hectic pace of the emergency department (ED). This study assessed the feasibility of the Leveraging Patient’s Experience to Improve Diagnosis (LEAPED) program to measure patient-reported diagnostic error after ED discharge. Across three EDs, patient uptake of the program was high. Findings show that 23% of patients did not receive an explanation of their health problem upon discharge, and one-quarter of those patients did not understand the next steps after leaving the ED.
This study explored the benefits of reflection on diagnostic errors among internal medicine physicians in Switzerland, and found that diagnostic accuracy increased significantly between the initial diagnosis and the final diagnosis reached after reflection, regardless of the type of reflection used.
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.
This systematic review investigated the use of anatomical side markers (ASM), which are used in radiology to identify the correct anatomical side and prevent confusion. The seven studies included demonstrated that use of ASMs is common, but the literature documented some barriers to use, such as risk of obscuring essential anatomical parts.
Sharp AL, Baecker A, Nassery N, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:177-186.
The symptom-disease pair analysis of diagnostic error approach, or SPADE approach, measures diagnostic errors resulting in adverse events using two analytic pathways – the ‘look back’ analysis identifies symptoms associated with adverse events and identifies the symptom-specific harm rate per hospitalization and the ‘look forward’ analysis measures the disease-specific harm rate per symptomatic discharge. Using data from 2009 to 2017, this retrospective analysis looked at Emergency Department (ED) visits within 30 days of a hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to identify symptoms linked to probable missed diagnoses. Within 30 days of a subsequent hospitalization for AMI, common ED discharge diagnoses included chest pain and dyspnea, representing 574 probable missed AMIs. The authors estimate that these results correspond to approximately 10,000 potentially-preventable harms annually in the United States.
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