Toward the eradication of medical diagnostic errors

Science. 2024 Jan 26;383(6681):eadn9602. doi: 10.1126/science.adn9602. Epub 2024 Jan 25.

Abstract

The medical community does not broadcast the problem, but there are many studies that have reinforced a serious issue with diagnostic errors. A recent study concluded: "We estimate that nearly 800,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled by diagnostic errors each year." Diagnostic errors are inaccurate assessments of a patient's root cause of illness, such as missing a heart attack or infection or assigning the wrong diagnosis of pneumonia when the correct one is pulmonary embolism. Despite ever-increasing use of medical imaging and laboratory tests intended to promote diagnostic accuracy, there is nothing to suggest improvement since the report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2015, which provided a conservative estimate that 5% of adults experience a diagnostic error each year, and that most people will experience at least one in their lifetime.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Errors* / mortality
  • Diagnostic Errors* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States / epidemiology