Learning Opportunities: Five Ways to Reduce Risk of Diagnostic Error

October 26, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​The emerging science of identifying and reducing diagnostic errors represents "a new horizon of opportunities," according to an October 18, 2016, article in the Annals of Internal Medicine. An event should be considered an "error," the authors said, "only when unequivocal evidence suggests that a key finding was missed or not investigated when it should have been." The authors also said that errors should be framed as learning opportunities and not as a way to assign blame to someone. The goal of thinking about errors in this way, the authors said, is "to identify what could have been done differently" and then use that knowledge to improve safety in the future. The authors identified five dimensions to target for improvement and potential strategies for each.

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