Incomplete or delayed communication of imaging results can result in harm to the patient and have legal ramifications for the providers involved. This commentary presents a closed-loop communication model for the ordering clinician and radiologist. The model suggests the ordering clinician categorize the radiology report as “concordant” or “discordant”, and if discordant, provide an explanation.
Wiering B, Lyratzopoulos G, Hamilton W, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:579-589.
Delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. This retrospective study linking data reflecting primary and secondary care as well as cancer registry data found that only 40% of patients presenting with common possible cancer features received an urgent referral to specialist care within 14 days. Findings revealed that a significant number of these patients developed cancer within one year.
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.
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.
Diagnostic excellence achievement is becoming a primary focus in health care. This article series covers diagnosis as it relates to the Institute of Medicine quality domains, clinical challenges, and priorities for improvement across the system.
Rare diseases can present diagnostic challenges to clinicians. This article discusses how cognitive biases can impede diagnosis of rare conditions and strategies to improve diagnostic safety in critical care, such as diagnostic timeouts.
Diagnostic errors caused by premature closure and anchoring bias occur when clinicians rely on initial diagnosis despite receiving subsequent information to the contrary. This commentary encourages clinicians to be aware of their cognitive biases during the diagnosis process.
In dual process thinking, Type 1 decisions are made rapidly, but can result in diagnostic error. Type 2 processing is slower and more deliberate, and typically where novice clinicians begin practice. This article proposes adaptive expertise to improve novices’ processing. Incorporating six strategies (rationality, critical thinking, metacognitive processes, lateral thinking, medical humanities, distributed cognition) in medical education may improve learners’ processing and reduce diagnostic errors.
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.
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.
Lawson MB, Bissell MCS, Miglioretti DL, et al. JAMA Oncol. 2022;Epub Jun 23.
Delays in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can threaten patient safety. This study analyzed data from a large US breast cancer screening consortium to evaluate differences in diagnostic follow-up among racial and ethnic groups. Findings indicate that Black women were most likely to experience diagnostic delays (between receipt of abnormal screening result to biopsy) after adjusting for individual-, neighborhood-, and health care-level factor, emphasizing the need to address the potential for systemic racism in healthcare.
Alexander R, Waite S, Bruno MA, et al. Radiology. 2022:212631.
To reduce medical errors caused by fatigue, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) adopted duty hour restrictions for ACGME-accredited residency programs; however, other healthcare fields have not yet done so. This review presents the limited existing evidence for regulating duty hours for radiologists and proposes that additional research needs to be completed before implementing restrictions.
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.
Rosen PD, Klenzak S, Baptista S. J Fam Pract. 2022;71:124-132.
Cognitive biases can impede decision-making and lead to poor care. This article summarizes the common types of cognitive errors and biases and highlights how cognitive biases can contribute to diagnostic errors. The authors apply these common types of errors and biases in four case examples and discuss how to mitigate these biases during the diagnostic process.
Farrell C‐JL, Giannoutsos J. Int J Lab Hematol. 2022;44:497-503.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors can result in serious diagnostic and treatment errors, but may go unrecognized by clinical staff. In this study, machine learning was used to identify potential WBIT errors which were then compared to manual review by laboratory staff. The machine learning models showed higher accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity compared to manual review.
Giardina TD, Shahid U, Mushtaq U, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;Epub Jun 1.
Achieving diagnostic safety requires multidisciplinary approaches. Based on interviews with safety leaders across the United States, this article discusses how different organizations approach diagnostic safety. Respondents discuss barriers to implementing diagnostic safety activities as well as strategies to overcome barriers, highlighting the role of patient engagement and dedicated diagnostic safety champions.
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.
Connor DM, Narayana S, Dhaliwal G. Diagnosis (Berl). 2022;9:265-273.
Teaching clinical reasoning to medical students is a key strategy for reducing diagnostic errors. This paper describes a new longitudinal clinical reasoning curriculum taught in a US medical school’s first and second year of medical training. Students reported high self-efficacy after completing the curriculum; however, a competency audit revealed room for improvement in including system-related aspects of care.
Singh M, Collins L, Farrington R, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2022;9:184-194.
Clinical reasoning is an essential component of diagnostic safety. This paper describes the development of a new curriculum to improve clinical reasoning skills and processes in medical students. The curriculum uses several educational strategies (e.g., classroom teaching, simulation training, patient encounters) during pre-clerkship and clerkship to improve clinical reasoning skills across several domains (theory, patient assessment, diagnosis, and shared decision-making).
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