Quality and Safety in Health Care, Part XI: Introduction to Diagnostic Errors

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The process of reaching a diagnosis in health care has not been emphasized in safety programs carried out by health care organizations as much as many other aspects of care such as handoffs, medication errors, patient falls, wrong-side surgery, and decreasing hospital-acquired infections. However, diagnostic errors are a fairly frequent cause of harm that can contribute to serious injury or death. This article is the first in a series discussing the diagnostic process and how to define, measure, and prevent errors in diagnosis.

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