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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Patients Are Injured Due to Missed or Delayed Diagnosis Analysis Shows

Studies show that diagnostic errors cause twice as many adverse events as medication errors, but the subject has received little attention; Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority reviews 100 events related to diagnostic error

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Errors related to missed or delayed diagnosis are frequently a cause of patient injury and therefore an underlying cause of patient safety related events. Autopsy analysis spanning several decades show error rates at four to 50 percent, according to an article released today by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and published in its September Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory.

Diagnostic error is a diagnosis that is missed, incorrect, or delayed as detected by a subsequent definitive test or finding. Not all misdiagnosis results in harm and harm may be due to either disease or intervention.

Diagnostic errors are encountered in every specialty and are generally lowest (less than five percent) for certain specialties that rely on visual pattern recognition and interpretation (e.g., radiology, pathology, dermatology). Error rates in specialties that rely more on data gathering and the combination of different elements for a conclusive diagnosis are higher (10 to 15 percent).

"Diagnostic errors are often the first or second leading cause of medical malpractice claims in the United States," Dr. John Clarke, clinical director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "They account for twice as many ongoing and settled claims as medication errors."


Patients Are Injured Due to Missed or Delayed Diagnosis Analysis Shows - Related Hemodialysis Article


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