54% of pediatricians reported a diagnostic error at least once or twice per month

The response rate of this survey was 53% (N = 726).

54% of respondents reported that they made a diagnostic error at least once or twice per month; this frequency was markedly higher (77%) among trainees.

45% of respondents reported diagnostic errors that harmed patients at least once or twice per year.

Failure to gather information through history, physical examination, or chart review was the most-commonly reported process breakdown, whereas inadequate care coordination and teamwork was the most-commonly reported system factor.

Viral illnesses being diagnosed as bacterial illnesses was the most-commonly reported diagnostic error, followed by misdiagnosis of medication side effects, psychiatric disorders, and appendicitis.

Physicians ranked access to electronic health records and close follow-up of patients as strategies most likely to be effective in preventing diagnostic errors.
Image source: OpenClipArt.org, public domain.

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