The roughly 140,000 misdiagnosis made in Australia each year could be avoided by implementing key strategies, according to a perspective article by a University of Queensland researcher.
UQ Professor Ian Scott these statistics revealed that approximately 21,000 cases of misdiagnosis made in a clinical setting resulted in severe damage, and up to 4,000 resulted in death.
“Almost one in two malpractice claims brought against general practitioners also involved misdiagnosis,” said Professor Scott.
“Cognitive factors in clinician decision making are the main or contributing cause of over 75% of diagnostic errors.
“Over 80% of these cases are preventable. “
Professor Scott has identified several key strategies for reducing cognitive errors based on information derived from a number of research studies around the world.
“By using lectures, seminars, panel discussions and interactive videos, clinicians can be made to consider a wider range of diagnostic possibilities,” he said.
“Diagnostic checklists can be used to remind clinicians to systematically assess alternatives before making a diagnosis.
“In addition, clinicians may be asked to articulate their reasoning for a diagnosis aloud as the case unfolds, and trained to ‘reflect on their thoughts’ and reflect on past diagnostic errors.”
Other strategies that Professor Scott has identified from research papers include encouraging clinicians to seek a second opinion before making a diagnosis, monitoring patients, and reviewing cases involving an adverse event in the patient. patient.
He said computer-assisted diagnosis can be used where appropriate, and clinicians should ask patients if a diagnosis matches how they perceive their disease.
“The prevalence of incorrect diagnoses and patient harm have been important factors in prompting clinicians to consider prevention strategies,” said Professor Scott.
Professor Scott’s perspective article, written in collaboration with Associate Professor Carmel Crock, Director of the Emergency Department at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, is published in the Australian Medical Journal. (DOI: 10.5694 / mja2.50771)