Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year

Date:
April 16, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
At least one in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the U.S. every year, amounting to 12 million people nationwide, and posing a 'substantial patient safety risk,' finds research. Half of these errors could be potentially harmful, say the authors, who add that their findings should prompt renewed efforts to monitor and curb the numbers of misdiagnoses.

At least one in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the US every year, amounting to 12 million people nationwide, and posing a "substantial patient safety risk," finds research published online in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Related Articles


Half of these errors could be potentially harmful, say the authors, who add that their findings should prompt renewed efforts to monitor and curb the numbers of misdiagnoses.

To date, patient safety improvements have largely focused on hospital stays and issues such as infections, falls, and medication errors, say the authors. But most diagnoses are made in outpatient clinics, where patients are looked after by several different healthcare teams and few safety concerns are ever reported.

And because there are no reliable estimates of how common misdiagnoses are, it has been difficult to prioritize strategies to reduce them, they add.

In a bid to gauge the numbers of diagnostic errors made in US outpatient clinics every year, the authors combined data from several published studies, involving hundreds of medical records, sampled from a large pool of outpatient clinic visits.

This approach overcomes many of the challenges inherent in making similar assessments from malpractice data, autopsy reports, or specialized fields of medicine, say the authors.

The records were reviewed in detail to see if a diagnostic error had been made. The proportion of errors found was then applied to the larger population of all outpatient visits and then to the US adult population as a whole to estimate the annual frequency of misdiagnoses.

Based on these data, the authors calculated the numbers of new cases of misdiagnoses at 5.08%, suggesting that at least 1 in 20 US adults is misdiagnosed every year. And around half of these mistakes could potentially be harmful, if previous research is anything to go by, they say.

If these figures are applied to the US population as a whole, this works out at around 12 million adults each year.

Healthcare organizations, patient advocates, policymakers, and researchers should use the findings to push for further strategies to improve patient safety in this area, conclude the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hardeep Singh, Ashley N D Meyer, Eric J Thomas. The frequency of diagnostic errors in outpatient care: estimations from three large observational studies involving US adult populations. BMJ Quality & Safety., April 2014 DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002627

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416190948.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, April 16). At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416190948.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416190948.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins