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Leapfrog offers 29 recommendations to decrease diagnostic errors

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 04, 2022
Risk Management
The Leapfrog Group has proposed 29 recommendations for reducing diagnostic errors in hospitals.
Independent watchdog organization The Leapfrog Group has come up with 29 new recommendations for reducing diagnostic errors that pose harm to patients in hospitals.

Diagnostic errors are responsible for 40,000 to 80,000 deaths annually, and over 250,000 Americans experience one in hospitals, such as delays, wrong and missed diagnoses, and failure to effectively communicate diagnoses to patients.

Published on July 28, Recognizing Excellence in Diagnosis: Recommended Practices for Hospitals outlines the suggestions, made by a national advisory group of physicians, nurses and other clinicians.

Leapfrog plans to survey hospitals that implement these practices in a national pilot in fall 2022, and will use the feedback to develop a new section of the Leapfrog Hospital survey that will be released in 2024. The report is part of the organization’s longer-term initiative, Recognizing Excellence in Diagnosis, for rating hospitals and publicly reporting on their diagnostic excellence in the future.

“Clinicians and hospital leaders tell us they know diagnostic errors are harming too many patients, but they are less clear on how to fix the problem,” said Leapfrog president and CEO Leah Binder in a statement. “Thanks to the incredible leadership of the multi-stakeholder group Leapfrog has convened, hospitals now have clarity on the steps to take.”

Within the report are descriptions and resources to assist hospitals in implementing each practice, as well as guidance for employers, purchasers and patient advocates.

Among these practices are:

- Making it easy for patients and family caregivers to report diagnostic errors and concerns to hospitals
- Implementing “closed-loop” communication for test results to be reviewed by the ordering clinician and relayed to the patient on a timely basis
- Convening a multidisciplinary team to implement hospitalwide diagnostic quality and safety programs, including the emergency department

The full list of recommendations is available here.

The national advisory group was convened by Leapfrog in 2021 to evaluate existing hospital practices around diagnostic safety and quality, and come up with new ones for the report.

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, a key partner in the initiative, will identify practices and develop tools and training materials for hospitals implementing them.

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