Di­ag­nos­tic er­rors move to fore­front in pa­tient-safety move­ment

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Sabriya Rice

Most work an­a­lyz­ing med­i­cal er­rors to date has fo­cused on prob­lems that oc­cur once pa­tients have been treated, such as wrong-side surg­eries and in­fec­tions,

said Lisa McGif­fert, di­rec­tor of the Con­sumer Union’s Safe Pa­tient Pro­ject. “There has not been much in terms of checks and bal­ances to ad­dress di­ag­nos­tic er­rors,” she said. (See this week’s Q&A, p. 30.)

That’s why ex­pec­ta­tions are high for a Sept. 22 re­port from the Na­tional Academy of Medicine. A mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team has been meet­ing for more than a year to eval­u­ate ex­ist­ing data, get a sense of the bur­den of harm and costs as­so­ci­ated with di­ag­nos­tic mis­takes and cre­ate na­tional stan­dards.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion, more than a dozen lead­ing healthcare or­ga­ni­za­tions and med­i­cal so­ci­eties an­nounced in Au­gust the for­ma­tion of the Coali­tion to Im­prove Di­ag­no­sis.

Par­tic­i­pants in­clude the Na­tional Pa­tient Safety Foun­da­tion, the Agency for Healthcare Re­search and Qual­ity and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion. It also in­cludes the So­ci­ety to Im­prove Di­ag­no­sis in Medicine, which will host its eighth an­nual Di­ag­nos­tic Er­ror in Medicine Con­fer­ence Sept. 27-29 in Washington, D.C.

In a re­lated note, last week the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health be­gan ac­cept­ing online pa­tient ap­pli­ca­tions for its Un­di­ag­nosed Dis­eases Net­work. The pro­gram in­ves­ti­gates dis­eases that are dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose or are un­rec­og­nized forms of more com­mon dis­eases.


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