Why do diagnostic errors happen?
Factors that can contribute to diagnostic errors include:
- System-level factors such as communication breakdowns between providers, erroneous or inadequate diagnostic technology, or inadequate staffing
- Cognitive biases such as mental shortcuts that lead health care providers to errors in decision-making
- Incomplete or inaccurate patient information such as incomplete medical records or gaps in information-sharing between providers
- Limited time with patients that prevents clinicians from obtaining a thorough history, a complete physical examination, or reviewing all relevant medical records
- Patient factors, such as a failure or inability to convey relevant medical history or follow up on diagnostic testing