Docs Make 12 Million Outpatient Diagnostic Errors Every Year
AHRQ study finds misdiagnosis a growing problem in ambulatory settings
Researchers examined three studies through chart review and found missed opportunities to make a timely and correct diagnosis based on the available evidence. They used the findings from one study to estimate the diagnostic error rate for acute conditions and the results from the other two studies to estimate the rates of missed colorectal and lung cancer diagnosis.
About half of the 5.08 percent of diagnostic errors could be potentially harmful, lead researcher Hardeep Singh, M.D., chief of the health policy, quality & informatics program at the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, based at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, and an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, concluded.
The research team said the healthcare industry should focus on other areas of care, such as "ambulatory settings, where many types of health conditions or illnesses are often first diagnosed," according to an announcement about the study, which was sponsored in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
"Misdiagnosis is clearly a serious problem for the healthcare field," said Singh in the announcement. "This population-based estimate should provide a foundation for policymakers, healthcare organizations and researchers to strengthen efforts to measure and reduce diagnostic errors."
Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of successful medical malpractice claims, and are the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes, according to BMJ Quality & Safety, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Researchers analyzed 350,706 paid claims from the National Practitioner Data Bank from 1986 to 2010 and found diagnostic errors represented 28.6 percent of the claims and accounted for the highest proportion of total payments--35.2 percent or $38.8 billion.
To learn more:
- check out the study abstract
- here's the announcement
Diagnostic errors: Most costly, common malpractice claim Study: EHRs can help pinpoint potential diagnostic errors Doctors' offices vulnerable to diagnostic errors
Thank You FierceHealthcare and Ms Sullivan.