Barriers Restricting Access to EHR Data in Support of Patient Safety and Privacy Laws Can Lead to Diagnostic Errors, Some Involving Clinical Laboratory Tests

What causes diagnostic errors? This was the question asked by researchers at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (EDVA) in Houston. It is also a question of great interest to pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists, since the failure of physicians to properly order and interpret medical laboratory tests can be a cause of diagnostic errors. Researchers were investigating how access to patient data embedded in hospital electronic health records (EHRs) affects patient safety. The...

Recent Study Estimates that 5% of Patients in Outpatient Settings Are Misdiagnosed, Offering Pathologists an Opportunity to Provide More Consultations to Doctors

This spring, researchers at the VA Hospital in Houston published a study revealing that one in 20 patients in outpatient settings are misdiagnosed Publication of new peer-reviewed clinical studies indicates that, within the United States, more than 5% of outpatients—or 12 million people—are misdiagnosed annually. Few pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists would dispute this number because every day they see the best and the worst of how physicians use medical laboratory tests. These...

In Recent Months, Health Officials in Alberta Disclose Diagnostic Errors by Two Pathologists and a Radiologist

Public awaits findings from board of inquiry empaneled by the Alberta Health System Once more, a province in Canada is dealing with public disclosure of unacceptable rates of errors in anatomic pathology testing services. This time it is the healthcare system of Alberta. Since November, the public has learned about two separate cases of individual pathologists who were determined to have misdiagnosed cancer cases. But pathology errors turned out to be only part of this story. Public concern in...

Hospitals Take Steps to Drive Down Medical Errors in Their Emergency Departments

Clinical laboratory managers are often part of the ER’s process improvement team Hospital emergency rooms (ER) across the country are intensifying their focus on improving patient safety  and reducing errors. The cost of malpractice lawsuits filed after errors in emergency rooms is a major reason why growing numbers of hospitals are initiating formal programs to identify and eliminate the source of errors and wrong care provided to patients. It probably won’t surprise most pathologists and...
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