WIHI: New Ways to Reduce Diagnosis Errors

Date: November 5, 2009


  • Gordon Schiff, MD, Associate Director, Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Pat Croskerry, MD, PhD, Professor in Emergency Medicine at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
It’s an all too familiar story: The initial diagnosis of a patient’s condition turns out to be wrong; or there’s an incorrect interpretation of a test result; or a patient never learns of a test result; or a physician relies too much on memory to form a diagnostic opinion, forgetting about other important clues. Each of these diagnosis errors can be traced back to a system failure or an overreliance on cognitive skills (ignoring decision supports), and often, both. Thankfully, many years’ worth of robust research on diagnosis errors is finally receiving greater attention, and is starting to lay the groundwork for improvement across the US and internationally.


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