WIHI: Harnessing Improvement to Reduce Diagnostic Errors and Delays

Date: December 1, 2015


  • Mark Graber, MD, FACP, President, Society to Improve Diagnosis In Medicine; Senior Fellow, RTI International
  • Thomas Gallagher, MD, FACP, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Medicine; Director, Hospital Medicine and Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety, University of Washington
  • Kedar Mate, MD, Senior Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
  • Jennifer Lenoci-Edwards, RN, MPH, CPPS, Director, Patient Safety, IHI

In September 2015, the Institute of Medicine issued a landmark report on diagnostic errors in the US, and the news wasn’t good: one in 20 adults suffers a diagnostic error every year. The report offers a two-part definition of diagnostic error: “the failure to (a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problem(s) or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient.” And it shines a light on the multiple factors that cause diagnostic errors – ranging from cognitive failures on the part of diagnosing physicians, to system failures for tracking and managing test results, to lack of teamwork and communication.
So, how do you take such a formidable analysis and “wake-up call” about patient safety and turn it into opportunity? How do you determine the nature and extent of diagnostic errors in your organization? What are the best improvement approaches to bring about real solutions? These are the big questions featured on this episode of WIHI.

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