(Washington, D.C., Thursday, July 11, 2019) – A new study shows one-third (34%) of malpractice cases that result in death or permanent disability are due to an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis. The report was authored by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and funded by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Of malpractice claims attributable to inaccurate or delayed diagnoses, researchers reviewed underlying disease states to identify patterns. The authors found that roughly three-quarters of inaccurate or delayed diagnoses that result in serious harms are attributable to three disease categories: cancers, vascular events (like strokes), and infections (including sepsis). These severe cases result in $1.8 billion in malpractice claim payouts over 10 years.

Paul Epner, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of SIDM, explains these research findings.

SOUNDBITE #1:

THIS RESEARCH CONFIRMS THAT INACCURATE AND DELAYED DIAGNOSES REMAIN THE MOST COMMON, MOST CATASTROPHIC, AND MOST COSTLY OF SERIOUS MEDICAL ERRORS. IT ALSO REPRESENTS A BIG LEAP FORWARD IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHEN AND WHERE INACCURATE OR DELAYED DIAGNOSES OCCUR. NOW, WE NEED RESEARCH TO IDENTIFY AND TEST SOLUTIONS THAT WILL HELP US PREVENT THEM, AND MORE FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING TO SUPPORT THESE IMPORTANT EFFORTS.

 SOUNDBITE #2:

THIS WORK SHOWCASES THAT MYRIAD FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO INACCURATE AND DELAYED DIAGNOSES AND HIGHLIGHTS THE NEED FOR FURTHER COLLABORATION ACROSS THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM TO SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE DIAGNOSIS AND ENSURE THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOMES FOR PATIENTS.

To learn more about the research or the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, visit ImproveDiagnosis.org.

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