- Diagnostic errors persist in healthcare throughout all settings and continue to harm “an unacceptable number of patients,” according to a report recently released by the Institute of Medicine.
- “Getting the right diagnosis is a key aspect of healthcare,” the report states. “It provides an explanation of a patient’s health problem and informs subsequent healthcare decisions.”
- The authors of the report concluded most patients will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime.
The report is a continuation of IOM’s Quality Chasm Series and follows a 1999 report titled “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.”
To improve diagnosis and reduce errors, researchers called for more effective teamwork among healthcare professionals, patients, and families; enhanced training for healthcare professionals; more emphasis on identifying and learning from diagnostic errors and near misses in clinical practice; a payment and care delivery environment that supports the diagnostic process; and a dedicated focus on new research.
“[T]his latest report is a serious wake-up call that we still have a long way to go,” said Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine in a prepared statement. “Diagnostic errors are a significant contributor to patient harm that has received far too little attention until now.”