Patient Safety pp 231-245 | Cite as

Diagnostic Error

  • Satid Thammasitboon
  • Supat Thammasitboon
  • Geeta Singhal


Errors related to missed, delayed, or wrong diagnoses are common, costly, and harmful. Additionally, diagnostic errors are frequently the leading or second leading cause of malpractice claims in the USA. Diagnostic errors are classified into three types: cognitive, system-related, and no fault errors. Studies show that cognitive and systems factors contribute to and compound each other’s impact. Dual process theory of reasoning is a promising model for understanding how physicians make decisions in the diagnostic process. A balanced effort should be made to expand clinical expertise and reduce errors to optimize diagnostic performance. Physicians should familiarize themselves with the science of decision making and common cognitive biases. Recent literature proposes various cognitive strategies to minimize errors. A closed-loop feedback system in the diagnostic process is critical in reducing errors and offering feedback to physicians for performance improvement. System-level strategies are effective solutions for cognitive errors. This chapter reviews diagnostic error which is an emerging area of patient safety, sources of errors, the science of diagnostic decision making, and reduction strategies that organizations, diagnosing physicians, and patients can adopt to decrease diagnostic error and increase patient safety.


Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Cognitive Bias Diagnostic Error Diagnostic Decision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satid Thammasitboon
    • 1
  • Supat Thammasitboon
    • 2
  • Geeta Singhal
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsTexas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care, and Environmental MedicineTulane University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsTexas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA

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