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Reform of primary care could reduce diagnostic errors
Date:7/27/2010

HOUSTON (July 28, 2010) Errors in diagnosis place a heavy financial burden on an already costly health care system and can be devastating for affected patients. Strengthening certain aspects of a new and evolving model of comprehensive and coordinated primary care could potentially address this highly relevant, but underemphasized safety concern, said health researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) and Stony Brook University Medical Center (www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org/).

"Diagnostic errors are the single largest contributor to malpractice claims (about 40 percent) and cost approximately $300,000 per claim," said Dr. Hardeep Singh, assistant professor of medicine and health services research at the Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence and BCM, in a commentary published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.ama-assn.org/). "Coordination, communication and continuity of care deficits are associated with these errors."

A unique model of primary care, called the patient-centered medical home, that emphasizes comprehensive and coordinated primary care could potentially reduce diagnostic errors if certain key elements of safety are also addressed, Singh said.

The commentary was co-authored by Dr. Mark Graber, associate chair of medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York and chief of medical service at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center (www.northport.va.gov/).

The principles of the patient-centered medical home were developed and endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (www.aafp.org/), the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org), American Col
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Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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