Most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, report says

NBC Nightly News reported that a new report (pdf) “concludes that every single one of us will get a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in our lives.”

The Washington Post reports, “The new report by the Institute of Medicine … outlines a system-wide problem.”

While “the report’s authors say they don’t know how many diagnostic errors” occur, “the report cited one estimate that such errors affect at least 12 million adults each year, or about 5 percent of adults who seek outpatient care.”

According to the AP, the “report urged health organizations to better identify diagnostic errors so providers can learn to prevent them – and called on the government to step up research, including funding an autopsy study to help quantify the problem.”

CBS News reports on its website that the report’s authors “also highlight the importance of medical education reform in preventing diagnostic errors,” calling “for changes to the curriculum emphasizing clinical reasoning, teamwork, communication and diagnostic testing.”

Meanwhile, “they say it’s important to improve health information technology and support for both health care professionals and patients.”

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