Getting the correct diagnosis is critical because it is at the crux of everything that happens in the healthcare setting. If the diagnosis is wrong, then the treatment is wrong. The follow-up is wrong. Everything that happens across the healthcare system depends on getting this first piece right. Diagnostic safety is an issue that affects everyone.
During the September 2016 Research Summit at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), attendee after attendee walked up to the microphone to share personal stories of misdiagnoses and diagnostic errors. This was not, however, a room filled with patient advocates. Almost everyone who spoke that morning worked within the healthcare system. The people who spoke were neither unique nor unusually unlucky. As we know, diagnostic errors are likely to impact most of us in our lifetime.
Unfortunately there is little hard data on the full extent of the problem or its human toll. Recent studies point to the vastness of the challenge and the urgency to act now. One study estimated the annual cost of misdiagnosis of stroke at $1 billion annually; a second study analyzed medical malpractice claims data from 1986–2010 and found that diagnostic error was the leading type of paid claim and accounted for the highest proportion of total payments (35.2%).
Understanding systems of care
Diagnosis is hard to define and quantify precisely because it is not a single event. The diagnostic process is embedded in the work system, so getting it right involves tackling a wide range of interrelated issues. Improving diagnosis in the United States requires private and public parties working together to ensure that the healthcare systems consistently deliver the best care for patients. Patient engagement, education, measurement, health information technology, organizational factors, and training are the foundation needed to move ahead.
When the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report To Err is Human was released, it galvanized the healthcare industry’s attention on medical errors and the systems, processes, and conditions that work for or against a culture of patient safety. The report triggered a new mission for AHRQ to conduct and support research to improve patient safety. In a recent review from the journal Diagnosis, the Agency demonstrated how it has invested in research over the last two decades to understand how to make healthcare safer across the US healthcare system. Among other focal points, the AHRQ will focus on adapting patient safety tools to address diagnostic safety and to explore diagnostic measure development and improve data utilization and analysis.
Read the original article here:
Kerm Henriksen, Chris Dymek, Michael I. Harrison, P. Jeffrey Brady, Sharon B. Arnold: Challenges and opportunities from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) research summit on improving diagnosis: a proceedings review, 23.05.2017