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.
Plint AC, Newton AS, Stang A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 19.
While adverse events (AE) in pediatric emergency departments are rare, the majority are considered preventable. This study reports on the proportion of pediatric patients experiencing an AE within 21 days of an emergency department visit, whether the AE may have been preventable, and the type of AE (e.g., management, diagnostic). Results show 3% of children experienced at least one AE, most of which were preventable.
Gupta K, Szymonifka J, Rivadeneira NA, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;Epub May 28.
Analysis of closed malpractice claims can be used to identify potential safety hazards in a variety of clinical settings. This analysis of closed emergency department malpractice claims indicates that diagnostic errors dominate, and clinical judgment and documentation categories continue to be associated with a higher likelihood of payout. Subcategories and contributing factors are also discussed.
Missed diagnosis of stroke in emergency medicine settings is an important patient safety problem. In this study, researchers interviewed emergency medicine physicians about their perspectives on diagnostic neurology and use of clinical decision support (CDS) tools. Themes emerged related to challenges in diagnosis, neurological complaints, and challenges in diagnostic decision-making emergency medicine, more generally. Participating physicians were enthusiastic about the possibility of involving CDS tools to improve diagnosis for non-specific neurological complaints.
Politi RE, Mills PD, Zubkoff L, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 30.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor outcomes for patients. Researchers reviewed root cause analysis (RCA) reports to identify factors contributing to delays in diagnosis and treatment among surgical patients at the Veterans Health Administration. Of the 163 RCAs identified, 73% reflected delays in treatment, 15% reflected delays in diagnosis, and 12% reflected delays in surgery. Policies and processes (e.g., lack of standardized processes, procedures not followed correctly) was the largest contributing factor, followed by communication challenges, and equipment or supply issues.
Morsø L, Birkeland S, Walløe S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:271-279.
Patient complaints can provide insights into safety threats and system weaknesses. This study used the healthcare complaints analysis tool (HCAT) to identify and categorize safety problems in emergency care. Most problems arose during examination/diagnosis and frequently resulted in diagnostic errors or errors of omission.
Yale S, Cohen S, Bordini BJ. Crit Care Clin. 2022;38:185-194.
A broad differential diagnosis can limit missed diagnostic opportunities. This article outlines how diagnostic timeouts, which are intended reduce bias during the identification of differential diagnoses, can improve diagnosis and reduce errors.
Lam D, Dominguez F, Leonard J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 22.
Trigger tools and incident reporting systems are two commonly used methods for detecting adverse events. This retrospective study compared the performance of an electronic trigger tool plus manual screening versus existing incident reporting systems for identifying probable diagnostic errors among children with unplanned admissions following a prior emergency department (ED) visit. Of the diagnostic errors identified by the trigger tool and substantiated by manual review, less than 10% were identified through existing incident reporting systems.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
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.
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at risk for serious patient safety threats. In this retrospective review of 600 consecutive inborn NICU admissions, researchers found that the frequency of diagnostic errors among inborn NICU patients during the first seven days of admission was 6.2%.
Huang C, Barwise A, Soleimani J, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e454-e462.
Identifying and reducing diagnostic errors remains a critical patient safety concern. This prospective study asked clinicians if they perceived that a diagnostic error played a part in rapid response team activations or unplanned admissions to the intensive care unit. Clinicians reported that 18% of acute care patients experienced diagnostic errors.
Wyner D, Wyner F, Brumbaugh D, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021053091.
The dismissal of parental concerns is a known contributor to medical errors in children. This story illustrates how poor communication, lack of respect, and anchoring bias contributed to failure in the care of a boy. The authors share actions being taken by the hospital involved in the tragedy to partner with the family to improve diagnosis practices throughout their organization.
Lamoureux C, Hanna TN, Sprecher D, et al. Emerg Radiol. 2021;28:1135-1141.
Teleradiology - general radiologists who support several hospitals and read films remotely – can increase off-hours coverage but this approach can result in increased errors. This retrospective review examined errors and discrepancies between teleradiology findings and image interpretation from local facility radiologists. Most errors involved CT scans; the most common errors included missed fractures or dislocations and bleeding.
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.
Cooper A, Carson-Stevens A, Cooke M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21:139.
Overcrowding in the emergency department (ED) can result in increased frequency of medication errors, in-hospital cardiac arrest, and other patient safety concerns. This study examined diagnostic errors after introducing a new healthcare service model in which emergency departments are co-located with general practitioner (GP) services. Potential priority areas for improvement include appropriate triage, diagnostic test interpretation, and communication between GP and ED services.
Shen L, Levie A, Singh H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:71-80.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges associated with diagnostic error. This study used natural language processing to identify and categorize diagnostic errors occurring during the pandemic. The study compared a review of all patient safety reports explicitly mentioning COVID-19, and using natural language processing, identified additional safety reports involving COVID-19 diagnostic errors and delays. This innovative approach may be useful for organizations wanting to identify emerging risks, including safety concerns related to COVID-19.
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.
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.
Diagnostic error reduction continues to be a patient safety focus. This article outlines innovative ways clinical laboratory professionals can support diagnostic excellence, such as improved communication between laboratory professionals, providers and patients.
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