Diagnostic Errors ~ More common than you think

A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report warns that most Americans will experience a “meaningful diagnostic error” at least once in their lifetime—sometimes leading to “devastating consequences”. While good metrics on diagnostic errors have yet to be developed, the report estimated that diagnostic errors:

• Affect 5% of US adults seeking outpatient care every year;
• Account for 6 to 17% of adverse events in hospitals; and
• Contribute to 10% of patient deaths.

Modern medicine is complex—with scientific advances in molecular diagnostics leading towards ever more personalized and precision-based medicine. It seems almost counter-intuitive that the diagnostic process can be as fallible as it appears; the report reinforces the view that we each need to be able partners with our doctors to reduce the likelihood of diagnostic errors. Continue Reading