Development of a rubric for assessing delayed diagnosis of appendicitis, diabetic ketoacidosis and sepsis

Diagnosis (Berl). 2020 Jun 25;/j/dx.ahead-of-print/dx-2020-0035/dx-2020-0035.xml. doi: 10.1515/dx-2020-0035. Online ahead of print.


Objectives Using case review to determine whether a patient experienced a delayed diagnosis is challenging. Measurement would be more accurate if case reviewers had access to multi-expert consensus on grading the likelihood of delayed diagnosis. Our objective was to use expert consensus to create a guide for objectively grading the likelihood of delayed diagnosis of appendicitis, new-onset diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and sepsis. Methods Case vignettes were constructed for each condition. In each vignette, a patient has the condition and had a previous emergency department (ED) visit within 7 days. Condition-specific multi-specialty expert Delphi panels reviewed the case vignettes and graded the likelihood of a delayed diagnosis on a five-point scale. Delayed diagnosis was defined as the condition being present during the previous ED visit. Consensus was defined as ≥75% agreement. In each Delphi round, panelists were given the scores from the previous round and asked to rescore. A case scoring guide was created from the consensus scores. Results Eighteen expert panelists participated. Consensus was achieved within three Delphi rounds for all appendicitis and sepsis vignettes. We reached consensus on 23/30 (77%) DKA vignettes. A case review guide was created from the consensus scores. Conclusions Multi-specialty expert reviewers can agree on the likelihood of a delayed diagnosis for cases of appendicitis and sepsis, and for most cases of DKA. We created a guide that can be used by researchers and quality improvement specialists to allow for objective case review to determine when delayed diagnoses have occurred for appendicitis, DKA, and sepsis.

Keywords: diagnostic error; diagnostic safety; error measurement.