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Top Healthcare Quality Issues for 2014, Part 2

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2014

Expect such a system to weigh the importance of myriad factors such as reputation, volume, claims data, safety data reported to CMS, geography and size, research funding and number of trials, hospital charges, hospital teaching status, number of physicians on staff, and so on.

14. Misdiagnosis as a New Form of Preventable Harm
What if for every seven days that you went to work, your job performance was excellent for six solid days. But every seventh day your performance suffered. You made mistakes and exercised bad judgment. You'd be fired for sure.

New studies call into question physician diagnostic proficiency, saying they get it wrong about as often, between 10% and 15% of the time. And they are seldom held accountable, although that culture is starting to change, says Hardeep Singh, MD, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, who is pushing to raise the importance of misdiagnosis to the level of other types of preventable medical errors.

"Fortunately, our field is beginning to attract the attention that we have long hoped for," he wrote in an editorial last October in the British Medical JournalQuality & Safety.

Accountable care organizations, and other forms of shared savings plans and cooperative care networks such as patient-centered medical homes may create incentives for hospitalists and clinicians to circle back to the diagnosing doctor who didn't get it right. Also, a new organization called the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) is working on diagnostic error terminology and has received support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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1 comments on "Top Quality Issues for 2014, Part 2"


Steve Wilkins (1/7/2014 at 11:43 AM)
Before we see measurable reductions in diagnostic errors, we will need to see attention paid to a leading cause of such errors - poor patient communication skills in the part of physicians. A physician's ability to effectively "talk and listen" to patients is critical to the accuracy of the patient's DX and TX. As Sir William Osler once said...listen to your patients and they will tell you what's wrong. The challenge today is that there is such a headlong rush to replace face-to-face DX with technology that the patient is being left out of their own care. Steve Wilkins, MPH mindthegap.smarthealthmessaging.com