iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

IOM: Improving Diagnosis in Health Care

The 2015 report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care says that patients and their loved ones should be central members of the diagnostic team; they provide vital input that informs diagnosis and decisions about the path of care. Yet for a variety of reasons, patients may not be effectively engaged in the diagnostic process.Visit this page with resources to facilitate communication between patients and clinicians.

Getting the right diagnosis the first time is critical

According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, it is estimated that:

  • 5% of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care each year experience a diagnostic error
  • diagnostic errors contribute to approximately 10% of patient deaths
  • diagnostic errors account for 6 to 17% of adverse events in hospitals

Source: “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care,” Institute of Medicine/the National Academy of Sciences, Report in Brief, September 22, 2015,

October 2, 2015 | Categories: healthcare,hospitals,quality | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

How do we stop the waste

According to a recent survey of emergency department physicians, 97% said at least some of the advanced diagnostic imaging studies they personally order are medically unnecessary. Source: “Emergency Physician Perceptions of Medically Unnecessary Advanced Diagnostic Imaging,” Academic Medicine, abstract only, March 23, 2015,

April 2, 2015 | Categories: healthcare,quality | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

Outpatient Diagnostic Errors Affect 1 in 20 Adults

A new study co-funded by AHRQ found that diagnostic errors—missed opportunities to make a timely or correct diagnosis based on available evidence—occur in about 5 percent of U.S. adults and that about half of those errors could severely harm patients. The study, “The frequency of diagnostic errors in outpatient care: estimations from three large observational studies involving U.S. adult populations,” was published in the April 21 issue of BMJ Quality & Safety.

The study used data from three previous studies of errors in general primary care diagnosis, colorectal cancer diagnosis and lung cancer diagnosis. In all three studies, diagnostic errors were confirmed through rigorous chart review. Diagnostic errors can harm patients by delaying their treatment. For example, a delayed or incorrect cancer diagnosis could make the disease harder to treat or more deadly. The study is significant because it is based on a large sample size and is the most robust estimate thus far to address the frequency of diagnostic error in routine outpatient care.

Select to access the press release:

Correct Diagnosis Requires the Right Tools

EHRs Used to Identify Wrong Diagnosis, How Care Could Be Improved

Most cases of wrong diagnosis (diagnostic errors) occur with common ailments and are related to process break-downs that happen during visits with health care providers, according to a study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Researchers used electronic health records to identify cases of diagnostic error in primary care settings. Some of the most commonly missed conditions were pneumonia, heart failure, kidney failure, or new cancers. Failures in taking patient histories, physical examination and follow-up testing were the most common contributors to wrong diagnosis, which can put patients at risk for moderate to severe harm. The study suggests that better methods are needed to help clinicians gather and synthesize information, especially for illnesses that have similar symptoms.

“Types and Origins of Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care Settings” appeared online February 25, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To access the abstract, select: