Diagnostic Error in Surgery and Surgical Services

  • Mark L. Graber
  • Juan A. Sanchez
  • Paul Barach


Surgical diagnostic errors are clinically and financially costly. Efforts to identify, monitor, and reduce the rates of these errors are urgently needed. Diagnostic error may involve various types of overlapping missed opportunities to make a correct and timely diagnosis; a diagnosis may be missed completely, the wrong one may be provided, or diagnosis may be delayed, all of which can lead to harm. Reliable surgical diagnosis and decision-making requires the full participation and engagement of many team members including the patient and their family. More research is needed to identify better metrics to measure and identify these errors. Hospitals and healthcare delivery systems need to significantly reenvision the surgical diagnostic process to achieve higher levels of reliability, patient centeredness, and better financial values.


Surgery Diagnostic error Clinical decision-making Medical errors Interpretive diagnostic error Surgical pathology and cytology Patient safety 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark L. Graber
    • 1
  • Juan A. Sanchez
    • 2
  • Paul Barach
    • 3
  1. 1.Society to Improve Diagnosis in MedicineRTI InternationalPlymouthUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryAscension Saint Agnes Hospital, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety & Quality, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation and Kyle John Rymiszewski Research ScholarChildren’s Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA

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