Diagnosis errors: No easy fix

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 11, 2009

Physicians are responsible for one of the most complicated and important decisions in medicine: the diagnosis. Any further treatment plan rides on this diagnosis, and it may not be surprising that diagnosis error is now being looked at as a significant percentage of all medical errors. A report published in the November 9 Archives of Internal Medicine showed that anonymously, 310 physicians revealed 583 diagnosis errors, of which 44% were related to lab and radiology testing errors, including test ordering, test performance, and clinician processing.

But why do physicians make diagnosis errors? The answer lies in both cognitive processes and they systemic factors that influence the way in which a medical decision is made.

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