While primary care physicians aim to diagnose patients as quickly and accurately as possible, a host of communications and record-keeping errors, cognitive biases and other factors can lead to missed, delayed and incorrect diagnosis. According to recent estimates, diagnostic errors occur in roughly five percent of primary care cases, affecting 12 million adult patients in the U.S. each year.
And while there is no easy fix, researchers and practitioners who study misdiagnosis believe changes in primary care practice and more supportive environments for clinicians are needed to improve the diagnostic safety of patients.
Compared to hospital-based peers, clinicians in primary care are less likely to have regular opportunities to examine and discuss cases where diagnostic delays or errors resulted in harm or potential harm to patients. The Primary-Care Research in Diagnosis Errors (PRIDE) Learning Network