Even though missed diagnoses are rare in the ED, we must still work to prevent them, Elizabeth Tracey reports
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About one in 18 people who visit an emergency department will receive an incorrect diagnosis, a study led by David Newman-Toker at Johns Hopkins for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reveals. Newman-Toker says of that number, very few will experience serious harm as a result.
Newman-Toker: I think in many ways if anything’s unexpected from the study that we did is that the error rates are pretty low, all things considered there’s a 95% chance that you get the right diagnosis and there’s a 99.7% chance that there’s no associated harm or serious outcome as a consequence of not getting the right diagnosis. That having been said, even if the rate of serious harm from diagnostic error is 0.3%, that’s still a significant risk to a large number of people, when you’re talking about 130 million emergency department visits a year. :32
Newman-Toker says the data is being carefully analyzed to determine ways forward to reduce errors even further. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.