, Volume 14, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 1-5
Date: 11 Aug 2009

Diagnostic error in medicine: introduction

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In 1999 the Institute of Medicine (a division of the US National Academy of Sciences) published a landmark report indicating that from 44,000 to 98,000 deaths per year could be attributed to preventable medical errors (Kohn et al. 1999). Although the majority of errors related to therapy, including medication and surgical errors, the report identified a significant number of diagnostic errors. Until recently, most of the research in patient safety had not addressed these errors. In the last few years there has been increased recognition of the prevalence and severity of diagnostic errors. In 2007 the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) identified diagnostic errors as an area of special emphasis. (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-08-002.html).

There is a background of research that is relevant to this newly recognized domain. Several patient safety and quality improvement researchers have focused on ...

This special supplement to Advances in Health Sciences Education includes a selection of papers based on presentations at the conference on Diagnostic Error in Medicine, held in Phoenix Arizona, on May 31–June 1, 2008.