Survey: Diagnostic errors prevalent, CPOE can help

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Nearly half of physicians encounter diagnostic errors in their practice at least monthly, according to a 6,400-clinician survey commissioned by QuantiaMD.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said that up to 10 percent of misdiagnoses they have experienced have directly resulted in patient harm. However, more than 96 percent of clinicians believe diagnostic errors are preventable at least some of the time.

Study respondents identified atypical patient presentation, failure to consider other diagnoses and inadequate patient history as the top contributors to diagnostic errors. Respondents also noted external factors such as over-testing to avoid malpractice risk.

Clinicians indicated the top five diagnoses at greatest risk for misdiagnosis as:

  • Pulmonary embolism;
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Appendicitis;
  • Breast cancer; and
  • Myocardial infarction

According to the survey, three quarters of clinicians were confident that decision support tools and artificial intelligence aids will help to prevent diagnostic errors in the future. However, 56 percent believe that artificial intelligence aids, such as a medical version of Watson–IBM's artificial intelligence system–will never be able to replace the physician's role in diagnosis.