Navigation Links
Study finds a wide variety of errors in testing process at family medicine clinics
Date:8/13/2008

The largest study to date of testing errors reported by family physician offices in the United States found that problems occur throughout the testing process and disproportionately affect minority patients.

In the June 2008 issue of Quality & Safety in Health Care, the researchers report that medical testing errors led to lost time, lost money, delays in care, and pain and suffering for patients, with adverse consequences affecting minority patients far more often.

"I think everybody has had an occasion where their physician did a test, and they just didn't hear back," said John Hickner, MD, professor and vice chair of family medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "People identify that as a common experience. The incident reports we received voluntarily from family physicians and their office staff detail what the problem areas are."

"There's a fair amount of risk and harm that results from testing mistakes and slips," he added. "This data provides a starting point for improvement."

The study took place at eight family physician offices--all part of the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network. Four of the doctors' offices were rural, three urban and one suburban.

During 32 weeks in 2004, 243 clinicians and office staff submitted 590 anonymous reports describing 966 medical-test-related errors. The tests included lab work, diagnostic imaging and other tests such as pulmonary function tests and electrocardiograms.

Errors were classified in one of 10 categories: test ordering, test implementation, reporting results to the clinician, clinician responding to results, notifying the patient of results, administrative, treatments, communications, other process errors, and knowledge and skills.

The most common errors involved failure to report results to the clinician, accounting for one out of four (24.6%) reported mistakes. Test implementation (17.9%) and administrative errors (17.6%) were the next most common.

Test implementation errors were nearly double for minority groups, at 32 percent versus 18 percent for non-Hispanic whites. The investigators believe this may reflect difficulties with transportation to the testing site or lack of insurance to pay for the test.

A quarter of the errors resulted in delays in care for patients, and 13 percent caused pain, suffering or a definite adverse clinical consequence. Eighteen percent resulted in harm.

"One of the most striking and disturbing findings was that minority patients were nearly three times more likely to experience adverse consequences," Hickner said, and twice as likely to experience physical harm from errors.

The researchers reported considerable variation in the types of errors reported from each practice. "While significant physical harm was rare, adverse consequences for patients were common," Hickner observed. "This study strongly supports the need for office-by-office improvements in the overall testing process within primary care."

Although this study was not designed to determine the true error rate, "testing-process errors appear to be common," the authors conclude. "Since many errors are undetected or unreported, we can assume this is an extreme lower bound."

An accompanying paper in the same journal from the same study looked at how often harm to patients was prevented or reduced by early detection and intervention. About 25 percent of the errors were discovered in time for an intervention, usually by physicians. "This demonstrates the continuing importance of people," the authors note, "and cautions against the over-reliance on current technological systems."


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Wilder
Suzanne.Wilder@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study finds not all hearing aids are created equal
2. Overweight Hispanic children at significant risk for pre-diabetes, according to new USC study
3. Public health clinic study links Americanization and depression
4. Case Western Reserve University study finds caregivers of spouses with dementia enjoy life less
5. Weight Loss After Diabetes Diagnosis Offers Big Benefits: Study
6. Losing Weight After Diabetes Diagnosis can Prevent Diabetes-Related Disease, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds
7. UNC study: Two-thirds of severe sports injuries to female students due to cheerleading
8. Athletes Study Shows Pride, Shame Universal Behaviors
9. Kaiser Permanente - Stanford Heart Research Center Funded to Study Treatment Outcomes
10. The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia Receives Grant to Study Tailoring Pediatric Preventive Care to Individual Needs
11. Study finds more PSA screening awareness needed among high-risk groups
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, April 26, ... the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, the “Rural ... (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations which donate ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Fort Stewart, GA (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... on Monday, May 16, 2016, at its new location in the Exchange Furniture Mall ... including a raffle for a 50-inch Samsung Smart TV. Plus attendees will have the ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... announces the Gyrociser, an exercise invention which aids in proper muscle development. , ... Cooper, CEO and Creative Director of World Patent Marketing. "Globalization has threatened the ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Reltok Nasal Products proudly announces that Boston Medical ... neck/ear, nose and throat specialty, has added the KOTLER NASAL AIRWAY™ to its diverse ... is a newly patented safety device secured by nasal surgeons onto the floor of ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... print media enterprise focused entirely on patients with cancer, today announced that Lynne ... chosen as the 2016 CURE® Extraordinary Healer® for Oncology Nursing , which ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... 29, 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds ... market research report that provides an overview of ... at various stages, therapeutics assessment by drug target, ... and molecule type, along with latest updates, and ... key players involved in the therapeutic development for ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... glyco-biology expertise, today announces the appointment of Dr. ... Dr. Zurlo is an oncologist with many years clinical ... and biotechnology industries. His last role was at Mologen ... of the Executive Board. Previously Dr. Zurlo held various ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016  While Abbott,s announced purchase of ... valve repair and stent business, healthcare research firm ... more firmly into patient monitoring.  Kalorama said that ... device areas, with double-digit growth expected the next ... Advanced Remote Patient Monitoring . Abbott Laboratories ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: