New Tool Helps Identify Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care, AHRQ Study Finds

Issue 518
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
May 17, 2016

AHRQ Stats: Rates of Uninsurance

From January 2010 to June 2015, the overall rate of uninsured people younger than age 65 decreased from 18 percent to 10 percent. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update on the National Quality Strategy.)

Today's Headlines

  1. New Tool Helps Identify Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care, AHRQ Study Finds.
  2. Patient Safety Primer Discusses How Trigger Tools Can Screen for Patient Safety Events.
  3. New AHRQ Views Blog Posts.
  4. Spots Available for June TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer Online Course.
  5. AHRQ Offers Grants To Support Career Development of Research Scientists.
  6. Featured Case Study: AHRQ Tool Helps Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Improve Patient Education Materials.
  7. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. New Tool Helps Identify Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care, AHRQ Study Finds

An AHRQ-funded study resulted in the development of a successful tool, called the "Safer Dx Instrument," to measure diagnostic errors in primary care settings. Diagnostic errors are defined as missed opportunities to make a correct or timely diagnosis based on the evidence, regardless of patient harm. After creating a tool with 12 elements, the researchers tested it for accuracy against 389 patient records, some of which had previously been identified as having diagnostic errors. The Safer Dx Instrument had a reasonably high accuracy and predictive value to detect the presence or absence of diagnostic error. The study’s authors concluded that this instrument could be useful to identify high-risk cases for further study and quality improvement. Because of its reduced reliance on subjectivity, the authors said that the Safer Dx Instrument could serve as a standard for assessing a wide spectrum of diagnostic process breakdowns. The researchers emphasized that the Safer Dx Instrument is a much-needed first step in analyzing diagnostic processes in the primary care setting through comprehensive record review. "Accuracy of the Safer Dx Instrument to Identify Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care" appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Access the abstract.

2. Patient Safety Primer Discusses How Trigger Tools Can Screen for Patient Safety Events

Hospitals and health systems can use targeted injury detection systems, commonly known as triggers, to screen for patient safety events, according to a new patient safety primer. Triggers have become a widely used way to analyze medical records in order to identify patient safety events, measure how often such events occur and track the progress of safety initiatives over time. Triggers alert patient safety professionals to possible events so they can review the medical record to determine if an actual or potential patient safety event has occurred. The main value of triggers is efficiency, since a complete review of every medical record to find adverse events is time intensive. When a trigger correctly identifies an adverse event, analysis can uncover causes or contributing factors, and interventions can be developed to prevent such events. When reviewers are properly trained to interpret alerts, triggers are a practical tool for routine improvement efforts. Access the patient safety primer on the AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet).

3. New AHRQ Views Blog Posts

4. Spots Available for June TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer Online Course

AHRQ’s TeamSTEPPS® training curriculum is available online as an accredited course, allowing health care providers to become certified as TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers through a Web-based course. TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) is an evidence-based patient safety training program that emphasizes the importance of communication and teamwork among health care professionals. TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers are prepared to guide TeamSTEPPS training and implementation in a variety of settings. Enrollment is open for the next course as well as subsequent courses throughout the year. Potential participants are encouraged to complete the TeamSTEPPS readiness assessment. The course is offered at no cost, but participants must create a change team, submit a draft change plan and upload a letter of commitment before receiving an enrollment code. Learn more.

5. AHRQ Offers Grants To Support Career Development of Research Scientists

Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 12 for Career Development Award (K01) grants, which help emerging independent health services research investigators prepare for careers focusing on the quality, safety, efficiency, equity and effectiveness of health care. This AHRQ program provides support and "protected time" for an intensive, supervised health services research career development training experience. Applicants must have a research doctoral degree (Ph.D., Sc.D., Dr.P.H. or other research doctorate). Application due dates are October 12, 2016, and February 12 and June 12, 2017. Access the funding opportunity announcement to learn more.

6. Featured Case Study: AHRQ Tool Helps Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Improve Patient Education Materials

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City uses AHRQ’s Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool to help ensure that health information is presented in ways that are understood and used by patients of varying backgrounds and levels of health literacy. Access the case study.

7. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Access to care among nonelderly veterans. Bernard DM, Selden TM. Med Care 2016 Mar;54(3):243-52. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Access to care for youth in a state mental health system: a simulated patient approach. Olin SC, O’Connor BC, Storfer-Isser A, et al. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2016 May;55(5):392-9. Epub 2016 Mar 4. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

A qualitative study of vulnerable patient views of type 2 diabetes consumer reports. Longo DR, Crabtree BF, Pellerano MB, et al. Patient 2016 Jun;9(3):231-40. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Hospital readmission rates in U.S. states: are readmissions higher where more patients with multiple chronic conditions cluster? Basu J, Avila R, Ricciardi R. Health Serv Res 2015 Oct 20 [Epub ahead of print]. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Recognizing differences in hospital quality performance for pediatric inpatient care. Berry JG, Zaslavsky AM, Toomey SL, et al. Pediatrics 2015 Aug;136(2):251-62. Epub 2015 Jul 13. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Determinants of Medicare plan choices: are beneficiaries more influenced by premiums or benefits? Jacobs PD, Buntin MB. Am J Manag Care 2015 Jul;21(7):498-504. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Unresolved pain interference among colorectal cancer survivors: implications for patient care and outcomes. Kenzik K, Pisu M, Johns SA, et al. Pain Med 2015 Jul;16(7):1410-25. Epub 2015 Mar 20. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Trauma with injury severity score of 75: are these unsurvivable injuries? Peng J, Wheeler K, Shi J, et al. PLoS One 2015 Jul 31;10(7):e0134821. eCollection 2015. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed May 2016
Page originally created May 2016
Internet Citation: New Tool Helps Identify Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care, AHRQ Study Finds. Content last reviewed May 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/518.html