Innovative Solutions to Help Reduce Diagnostic Errors

April 11, 2014

The Wall Street Journal article details innovative solutions to help reduce diagnostic errors which are the leading cause of medical malpractice claims. However, diagnostic errors are preventable, more so than other medical mistakes. The solutions to help reduce diagnostic errors include:

  • Computer Software Automation
  • Better Devices and Tests
  • Better Online Resources
  • Improve the Culture of Medicine

Each of these solutions focuses on providing better tools that help doctors evaluate multiple diagnostic options and identify any gaps in each diagnosis that may require follow up or further analysis. Many organizations are allocating time and money to analyze the wealth of electronic data to measure and define past diagnostic errors in order to improve training and develop steps to prevent errors in the future. Additionally, undiagnosed cases are being evaluated and if possible any diagnostic errors are being fixed. With the “flood” of data, many are turning to technology to develop processes that help doctors proactively manage their patients. For example, technology can be used to set up “triggers” that help identify patients that require follow up care or tests. Technology can also be used to compare current diagnoses against past cases to help provide the correct diagnosis. By providing easier access to diagnostic equipment and tests, new diagnostic devices are helping doctors to more quickly and more accurately make a diagnosis. In addition to these technical solutions, something more basic but just as effective is being advanced; good communication and critical thinking. Many programs and medical schools are encouraging patients to be more engaged and ask more questions in order to help with the diagnostic process. Additionally, students and doctors are asked to think more critically, removing any biases during the diagnostic process. As a result, doctors will think through many different options rather than “anchoring” on one diagnosis.

View the full article on the Wall Street Journal: