The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Tougas C, Brimmo O. Pediatr Ann. 2022;51:e357-e363.
Diagnostic errors involving pediatric musculoskeletal radiographs can lead to adverse patient safety outcomes. This article discusses contributing factors to missed or delayed diagnosis of pediatric fractures and strategies to improve diagnosis.
Arnaoutakis GJ, Ogami T, Aranda‐Michel E, et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2022;11:e025026.
Missed diagnosis of aortic emergencies can result in patient death, therefore patients with presumed aortic syndromes may be transferred to aortic referral centers. Because interhospital transfers present their own risks, these researchers evaluated emergency transfers of patients who did not ultimately have a diagnosis of acute aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating aortic ulcer, thoracic aortic aneurysm, or aortic pseudoaneurysm. Approximately 11% of emergency transfers were misdiagnosed, secondary to imaging misinterpretation.
Tsilimingras D, Natarajan G, Bajaj M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:462-469.
Post-discharge events, such as medication errors, can occur among pediatric patients discharged from inpatient settings to home. This prospective cohort, including infants discharged from one level 4 NICU between February 2017 and July 2019, identified a high risk for post-discharge adverse events, (including procedural complications and adverse drug events) and subsequent emergency department visits or hospital readmissions. Nearly half of these events were due to management, therapeutic, or diagnostic errors and could have been prevented.
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.
Li W, Stimec J, Camp M, et al. J Emerg Med. 2022;62:524-533.
While pediatric musculoskeletal radiograph misinterpretations are rare, it is important to know what features of the image area are associated with false-positive or false-negative diagnoses. In this study, pediatric emergency medicine physicians were asked to interpret radiographs with and without known fractures. False-positive diagnosis (i.e., a fracture was identified when there was none) were reviewed by an expert panel to identify the location and anatomy most prone to misdiagnosis.
Dregmans E, Kaal AG, Meziyerh S, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2218172.
Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing can result in patient harm and costly antibiotic-resistant infections. Health record review of 1,477 patients admitted from the emergency department for suspected bacteremia infection revealed that 11.6% were misdiagnosed at infection site, and 3.1% did not have any infection. Misdiagnosis was not associated with worse short-term clinical outcomes but was associated with potentially inappropriate broad-spectrum antibiotic use.
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 in emergency medicine, more generally. Participating physicians were enthusiastic about the possibility of involving CDS tools to improve diagnosis for non-specific neurological complaints.
Patel SJ, Ipsaro A, Brady PW. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;Epub Feb 28.
Diagnostic uncertainty can arise in complex clinical scenarios. This qualitative study explored how physicians in pediatric emergency and inpatient settings mitigate diagnostic uncertainty. Participants discussed common mitigation strategies, such as employing a “diagnostic pause.” The authors also noted outstanding gaps regarding communicating diagnostic uncertainty to families.
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;42:1312-1318.
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%.
Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, collaborative initiatives, teamwork, and trigger tools.
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.
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.
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.
Bhat A, Mahajan V, Wolfe N. J Clin Neurosci. 2021;85:27-35.
Misdiagnosis, variation in treatment of stroke and gaps in secondary prevention in young patients can result in adverse outcomes. This article discusses the possible causes of implicit bias in stroke care in this population, the effects of bias on patient outcomes, and interventions to circumvent implicit bias.
Peyrony O, Marbeuf-Gueye C, Truong V, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2020;76:405-412.
This prospective study enrolled all patients with suspected COVID-19 who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 in order to estimate the diagnostic accuracy of patients’ characteristics and emergency physician judgement in predicting COVID-19. Findings indicate that physician clinical judgement was generally accurate and that certain patient characteristics (loss of smell, lung ultrasound findings) increase the likelihood of identifying COVID-19.
Platts-Mills TF, Nagurney JM, Melnick ER. Ann Emerg Med. 2020;75:715-720.
Clinicians commonly face uncertainty in complex care situations. The authors propose several strategies for physicians, physician groups, departments, and professional societies to integrate uncertainty into emergency medicine decision-making.
Dubosh NM, Edlow JA, Goto T, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74:549-561.
Misdiagnosis of a neurologic emergency such as stroke can lead to serious morbidity or mortality. Using a large multi-state database, this study examined the likelihood of readmission or inpatient mortality among patients who were initially discharged with nonspecific diagnoses of headache or back pain and found that 0.5% of headache and 0.2% of back pain patients experienced an inpatient death or serious neurological event after ED discharge. Extrapolated to a national level, this translates to over 55,000 patients with adverse outcomes due to a missed diagnosis for headache or back pain.
Shafer G, Singh H, Suresh G. Semin Perinatol. 2019;43:151175.
This article reviews diagnostic errors occurring in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), error causes and contributing factors, and prevention strategies. NICU diagnostic errors are relatively understudied but may have long-term consequences for health and development of infants.
Ischemic stroke, which often presents with non-specific symptoms and requires time-sensitive treatment, can be a source of diagnostic error and misdiagnosis. Using a large medical malpractice claims database, this study found that nearly half of all malpractice claims involving ischemic stroke included diagnostic errors, primarily originating in the ED. The analysis found that breakdowns in the initial patient-provider encounter (e.g., history and physical examination, symptom assessment, and ordering of diagnostic tests) contributed to most malpractice claims.
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