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Metacognition: A New Technique for Reduction of Diagnostic Errors  

Author:  John E.  Barnett, MD, CCHP.

Source: Volume 13, Number 01, November/December 2011 , pp.1-3(3)

Correctional Health Care Report

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It is now known that 40% of medical malpractice suits are related to missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnoses. This fact alone is more than enough to warrant increased focus and rigorous efforts to identify the causes of diagnostic errors and to eliminate them. However, there are many more reasons for the current increase in attention to this kind of medical mistake. Incorrect diagnoses result in increased cost, morbidity, and mortality in all areas of medicine, including services by physicians, dentists, nurses, and ancillary personnel. Diagnostic error may be responsible for 40,000 to 80,000 hospital deaths annually. Autopsies of hospital deaths reveal 5% showing missed conditions that could have prevented death. Overall, diagnostic error is estimated at 15%, although it is not possible to measure the incidence with certainty. Recent legislation revising health care services, Medicare, and Medicaid, together with increased scrutiny and action by regulatory bodies, has begun to focus on diagnostic error.

Keywords: diagnostic accuracy, Checklist, To Err Is Human, cognitive mistakes, bias, Pronovost, Keystone Project

Affiliations:  1: Cuyahoga County Corrections Center.

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