The CARE approach to reducing diagnostic errors.

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Diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, costly, and dangerous of all medical mistakes. There has been a notable increase on the focus of error prevention as part of a growing patient safety movement. However, diagnostic errors have received less attention than other types of error. Our goal is to present a short mnemonic that can act as a checklist or posted reminder to help practitioners in dermatology or any field of medicine to avoid diagnostic errors.


To meet this goal, the authors reviewed the literature and discussed errors and potential errors they have experienced over 55 years of combined practice, to create a short mnemonic.


The CARE method has helped the authors prepare and review their differential diagnoses in the relatively fast-paced practice of dermatology, but it has yet to be tested on a large scale.


The CARE (communicate, assess for biased reasoning, reconsider differential diagnoses, enact a plan) method is an efficient, recallable checklist that uses an educational approach to reduce diagnostic error while reminding us to simply "care" from a humanistic perspective. This method may help reduce preventable diagnostic errors and improve patient care.

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