[EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?

robert bell rmsbell at ESEDONA.NET
Wed Apr 30 19:34:47 UTC 2014


Mark,

I cannot see us ever getting to accurate diagnostic error data with the litigation sword of Damocles over our necks.

Is there a place for another completely different approach? That being legislative litigation exceptions for HCPs and hospitals that are improving their safety records, both general and diagnostic. For these hospitals there could be a fund set up for patent compensation? This would immediately allow for accurate data to be collected.

Also, if it is initially just too difficult to document errors in diagnosis, could surrogate markers be used to start with? They would not be perfect, but would indicate that there was improvement. A lot of creative thinking could be extended here.

I believe that if the culture is correct in a hospital all error rates should be lower. Is there any evidence that this is so and if general medical error rates are down, that diagnostic error rates are also down? A marker here might be increasing discharge diagnoses for slightly rarer conditions compared with national averages or even other similar hospitals.

Not sure if anything like this could work, and I am sure others would have other better and more creative ideas.  

We do need different thinking to break through the log jam.

And we also need friends, the AMA and the Specialty Societies come to mind.  Does the Society have Delegate status at the AMA?

Rob Bell 







On Apr 29, 2014, at 5:40 PM, Graber, Mark <Mark.Graber at VA.GOV> wrote:

> Stephen - I'm not sure ToC is going to get us very far in reducing diagnostic error.  The first problem is The Goal, as you point out. The practice of medicine is over 2000 years old, and there has never been a goal set for diagnosis.  Maybe we could talk about setting one now, but that would require knowing the true rate of error, which as this discussion has amply clarified, is nigh impossible.  In the absence of a discrete numeric goal, can't we agree that the goal is really to just be better than we are now?  If we're at 90% reliability, can we get to 95%?
> 
> Second, TOC as I understand it is a linear process and diagnostic quality clearly is not.  The interplay of clinical reasoning in the context of healthcare systems is going to be challenge enough for our human factors colleagues - I just can't imagine that there is one limiting link, as TOC likes to identify.
> 
> I guess I'm saying that a human factors analysis is possibly our best hope to provide insights and solutions going forward.  Perhaps the human factors engineers on the list can give us their view on where (or if) there is a role for ToC.
> 
> Mark
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: "Pauker, Stephen" <SPauker at TUFTSMEDICALCENTER.ORG>
> Reply-To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine <IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>, "Pauker, Stephen" <SPauker at TUFTSMEDICALCENTER.ORG>
> Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2014 15:37:10 -0400
> To: <IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> Ah but how do consider a stable low error rate?
> Suppose we go from 1:100 to 1:1 000 000 and stays there? It's not eliminated but it could be an objective. Can't reduce for ever and can't eliminate. And again it depends on the point in time
> 
> Again this is a tough question but we can't measure our approach to The Goal until we clearly define it. The simple response ' I know it when I see it' is inadequate although I've heard that said more than once
> Steve
> 
> 
> 
> Sent with Good (www.good.com)
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Latino [blatino at RELIABILITY.COM]
> Sent: Monday, April 28, 2014 03:25 PM Eastern Standard Time
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> "to reduce/eliminate patient harm due to diagnosis error" ????
> 
> As long as humans are in the decision-making mix, we will never eliminate 'error'.
> 
> However we can strive to minimize the number and magnitude of such errors (Swiss Cheese concept) and prevent them from actually harming patients when they do occur (risk mitigation).
> 
> 
> Robert J. Latino, CEO
> Reliability Center, Inc.
> 1.800.457.0645
> blatino at reliability.com
> www.reliability.com
> 
> 
> From: Pauker, Stephen [mailto:SPauker at TUFTSMEDICALCENTER.ORG]
> Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 7:23 PM
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> 
> To extend in a ToC framework re Change,
> 
> Measurements Drive Behavior
> 
> so we need a proper measure
> 
> but to have one, it is likely necessary to
> 
> have a crisp (1 sentence) Goal Statement
> 
> to which we can measure progress
> 
> 
> 
> To Reduce/Eliminate Errors in Medicine Now and In The Future
> 
> 
> 
> may be overly simplistic, because it begs the eternal question: Why?
> 
> 
> 
> Steve
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Stephen G. Pauker, MD, MACP, FACC, ABMH
> 
> Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry
> 
> ===========================
> 
> Please note new email address;
> 
> spauker at tuftsmedicalcenter.org
> 
> ===========================
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> 
> From: Swerlick, Robert A [mailto:rswerli at EMORY.EDU]
> Sent: Sun 4/27/2014 4:03 PM
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> This is a very interesting discussion, which as far as I can tell started with Hardeep's article estimating the frequency of diagnostic errors in outpatient settings but has moved on to discussions of best approaches to reduce diagnostic error. I think the discussion should move back to where it started.
> 
> 
> 
> That is because I believe that any discussion which weighs the options for improving diagnostic accuracy and avoiding diagnostic errors without being able to measure actual errors is not going anywhere. Yes, this task or sets of tasks will be very difficult and may appear at times to be impossible. But without the ability to measure diagnostic errors, all attempts to lessen numbers will be undertaken without knowing whether we are actually moving the needle or creating unintended problems. We have stories and stories are great for get attention and conveying a message. The next steps will require actual measurements and data  (ideally both numerators and denominators) of what is happening to patients.
> 
> 
> 
> There are many different contexts where diagnostic errors may occur and different parties who might become aware that diagnostic error has possibly happened. Each of us brings very different life and clinical experiences to this discussion. The experience of the ED physicians is very different from that of the primary care doc, the patient with their own personal experience and presenting symptom complex v. the physician who has seen a sea of patients with a similar symptom complex, the hospital intensivist v. the community dermatologist. All likely experience, observe, commit diagnostic errors but there the similarities end. No single approach will work.
> 
> 
> 
> Perhaps we need not only a definition of diagnostic error but also a taxonomy of diagnostic circumstances:
> 
> 
> 
> Inpatient v. outpatient
> 
> Acute disease v. chronic disease
> 
> Symptomatic disease v. asymptomatic (pre-disease) state
> 
> Life threatening v. non-life threatening (high stakes v. lower stakes)
> 
> Time constrained vs. not as time constrained
> 
> 
> 
> The tools we use under these different circumstances will be very different and the ability to measure will also depend on different clinical contexts.
> 
> 
> 
> Bob
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Robert A. Swerlick, MD
> 
> Alicia Leizman Stonecipher Chair of Dermatology
> 
> Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology
> 
> Emory University School of Medicine
> 
> 404-727-3669
> 
> ________________________________
> 
> From: Xavier Prida [dr.xavier.prida at gmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 2:06 PM
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> Art,
> 
>     Superb elucidation of the need for combinatorial approaches.
> 
> 
> 
> And, would agree that decision trees/algorithms(of which any database and software system would be comprised) require plasticity and "bailouts" to allow for detection of, as you astutely described , atypical presentations of common diseases(illness) as well as unknown and unrecognized(to the examiner) hallmarks of either rare or common diseases(illness). Therefore, one would not "be lead down the garden path" or distracted by "red herrings".
> 
> The cognitive skill to which you refer is "chunking"- the ability to aggregate, organize all data input(history, physical findings, testing) and distill a short list or singular accurate diagnosis- can be inherent extension of training, education, and experience with or without decision support tools.
> 
> 
> 
> Also, telemedicine allows for "wisdom of the crowd"- collective cognition.
> 
> 
> 
> Xavier
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM, Art Papier MD <apapier at logicalimages.com> wrote:
> 
> Xavier,
> System 1 thinking occurs well or not well depending on the level of expertise.  It is all in the cortex of the decision-maker, can they automatically recognize the pattern with a high degree of accuracy?  Alternatively does someone who is not an expert, think they know the pattern, and automatically make a judgment and prematurely close on the wrong diagnosis?    Additionally, there is the possibility that the decision-maker was trained incorrectly and actually spends quite a bit of time thinking about the diagnosis (system 2), but comes to the wrong conclusion despite the strong effort.  Some clinicians just have the wrong understanding or knowledge of certain problems.
> 
> What you describe is a potential remedy but in my over two decades of practicing medicine, I have never seen a clinician or resident use a decision tree. Logically a tree can cause a user to go down a path based on one confounding factor.  Combinatorial approaches just make more sense for complex decision making.   The decision making challenge of recognizing visual patterns is often very different than an internal medicine problem that requires exhaustive history, thorough physical exam and a thoughtful assessment.  It is as Malcolm Gladwell describes a "blink" moment.
> 
> Not all chief complaints and problem domains are created equal.
> 
> A patient presented to my office several years ago  and said something like this to our RN "I was  out hunting and I bent over and my scalp got scraped and now it is not healing", but she was quite good and presents the patient to me with a shortened version of what the patient was saying , and an assessment   "he was out hunting and was scraped.... but he has a basal cell carcinoma and we need to set up for a biopsy".......  The idea is that diagnosing a basal cell carcinoma is often 100% physical exam, no history necessary...my nurse made the diagnosis in a blink of an eye, knowing that the physical exam finding trumped the history...  most patients, believe that they are well and create histories to tell themselves that problems are minor....non system 1 experts for skin diagnosis, typically over rely on history.   Alternatively a patient with fever and a rash, and the rash is a morbilliform or exanthematous eruption then you likely need detailed history, exposures hx, travel hx etc.  Do they have Dengue because they went to South America?  Do they have a drug reaction? Which one?  Can you remember the questions to ask related to the presenting problem?
> 
> So there is a framing that goes on , with some problems solved totally on a system 1 level and others that will always require system 2.
> 
> I come back to my initial assertion and Bob's question.   Yes telemedicine would be helpful, but these problems are so common that there would not be enough experts to be on the other end......we have hybridized telemedicine with decision support.  The decision support creates a training effect whereby the expert sends the referring doc through the (store and forward) telemedicine system a link into diagnostic decision support .  It saves the consultant dermatologist a ton of time because they do not have to write a long message.  Then the referring doc receives this clickable link and sees how they could have searched the diagnostic decision support system.  It is a "teaching someone how to fish model, instead of always fishing for them".  We are doing this already in California in LA county and the VA system with great success.
> 
> I must point out that there are so many confounding factors that an algorithm, matrix or checklist cannot possible cover all the variants.  The beauty of well-designed databases and software allows one to capture variation and push that back to the user.    I stand by my assertion that variants of commons often cause diagnostic error, not just rare birds.
> 
> 
> 
> Art Papier MD
> Chief Executive Officer
> 3445 Winton Place.Suite 240.Rochester NY 14623
> (585) 427-2790 x230 .apapier at logicalimages.com <mailto:apapier at logicalimages.com>
> www.visualdx.com <http://www.visualdx.com/> www.skinsight.com <http://www.skinsight.com/>
> 
> 
> From: Xavier Prida [mailto:dr.xavier.prida at gmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 11:22 AM
> To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine; Art Papier MD
> 
> 
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> 
> 
> Art,
> 
>    As to your stated example(cellulitis vs. stasis dermatitis), in our paradigm this would be a Type 1 error- cognitive("I didn't know that").  The remedy would be a decision matrix that excluded diagnosis of cellulitis if bilateral in description and defer to a diagnostic pathway including lymphedema/stasis dermatitis, e. nodosum, etc.
> 
> 
> 
> Xavier
> 
> 
> 
> On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 5:21 PM, Art Papier MD <apapier at logicalimages.com> wrote:
> One of the common misperceptions is that diagnostic error always involves
> rare diagnoses and therefore is really hard to study, another is that
> prospective studies are not being performed.   Often very COMMON diagnoses
> are missed due to premature closure, over confidence and other cognitive
> reasons.  We looked at consecutive admissions for cellulitis at 2 major
> teaching centers and showed that on average 28% of patients admitted for
> cellulitis, did not have cellulitis
> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21426867  (also presented a poster on
> this at DEM) a similar study in the UK showed the error rate to be 33%
> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21564054   Incredibly there are many
> admissions for BILATERAL cellulitis in every city and town every day.  (for
> the non-physicians on the list, cellulitis is a soft tissue infection, that
> is 99.9% of the time only on one side of the body, usually the leg, but
> hands, arms and other body parts occur..but not bilateral!) Dermatologists
> have been grimacing, frowning, wringing their hands about this problem for
> decades.  Ask pretty much any general medical dermatologist and you will get
> the same puzzled response.  The academic dermatologists who cover the
> inpatient consultation services all look like they are going to have a
> seizure when you talk about this problem because it has been going on for
> decades.  We are unsure why so many clinicians cannot diagnosis
> lymphedema/stasis dermatitis in particular, but also common diseases like
> gout, zoster, erythema nodosum, lyme disease and many other diseases that
> are commonly called cellulitis.    Stasis dermatitis is the moist frequent
> condition mis-diagnosed as cellulitis.   This single diagnostic error area
> we estimate costs over 1.3 billion dollars in hospital admissions.  These
> are potentially fixable mistakes.  The human cost includes giving health
> people c. difficile or a life-threatening drug reaction such as Stevens
> Johnson Or TEN to a person that did not need antibiotics, nor
> hospitalization.   My hunch is there are many other problem areas where
> diagnosis is led by the good old fashioned physical exam where misdiagnosis
> thrives and is tolerated.  PS  Manoj-  admittedly this particular diagnostic
> problem area is centered in adult medicine.
> 
> Art Papier MD
> Chief Executive Officer
> 3445 Winton Place . Suite 240 . Rochester NY 14623
> (585) 427-2790 x230 . apapier at logicalimages.com
> www.visualdx.com <http://www.visualdx.com/>
> www.skinsight.com <http://www.skinsight.com/>
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mittal, Manoj K [mailto:MITTAL at EMAIL.CHOP.EDU]
> Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2014 3:40 PM
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> Hi,
> 
> Thanks for your input.
> 
> I like Hardeep's framing of diagnostic errors as missed opportunities. It is
> important what labels we use.
> 
> Retrospective studies to identify diagnostic errors are a good start. The
> problem of hindsight bias in these studies, however, may make front line
> clinicians resistant to accept their conclusions.
> 
> I am a practicing PEM physician. Our practice has evolved to such an extent
> that new onset serious diseases (where improving diagnosis is most important
> as it can have a difference between life and death) have become very rare,
> be they serious sepsis/septic shock, bacterial meningitis (much less than 1
> in 1000 children presenting with febrile illness), brain tumor, renal
> failure, etc. that any test (historical information and physical exam
> findings) has a very low positive predictive value.
> 
> We have to find a way to study diagnostic errors by prospective analysis of
> records. it is going to be difficult as all the records will have to be
> analyzed, but with the increasing use of EMRs and machine learning, it may
> become possible. The system could pick up suspect records that would be
> reviewed by the clinician's peers, who will decide if something was missed.
> The follow-up will show the truth.
> 
> Thanks,
> Manoj Mittal, MD
> The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
> ________________________________________
> From: Graber, Mark [Mark.Graber at VA.GOV]
> Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2014 2:00 PM
> To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] [EXTERNAL] Re: [IMPROVEDX] quick ?
> 
> I'd like to underline the comment from David Gordon that .... "Ultimately,
> this evolving science about how to improve diagnostic efficacy is going to
> have to balance the harm that can come by both under and over diagnosis".  I
> couldn't agree more.
> 
> David was concerned that if we see an 'explosion' of research that focuses
> excessively on delayed and missed diagnoses, we will under-emphasize the
> harm from over-diagnosis.  I certainly acknowledge the costs and harm from
> over-diagnosis, but would argue that an explosion of studies on diagnostic
> error (under-diagnosis) is exactly what's needed right now to understand how
> to improve the efficiency and quality of diagnosis.
> 
> If there is going to be any explosion (doubtful, given that the funding for
> dx error research is almost nil at the moment) my bet will be that this will
> come from the over-diagnosis community.  The evidence for this is number of
> abstracts submitted to the Overdiagnosis Conference (in the hundreds) vs the
> Diagnostic Error in Medicine conference (a few dozen).  And the reason is
> that it is so much easier to study over-diagnosis - all the data has already
> been collected, and the extra CT's and incidentaloma's have all been
> tallied.  Finding and studying under-diagnosis is much harder, for all the
> reasons everyone has described.  It may take months or years to know that a
> diagnosis was missed and in many cases we may never know at all.
> 
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> --
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> Xavier E. Prida MD FACC FSCAI
> 
> 813 813 0721(H)
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> 813 245 3143(C)
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> 
> --
> 
> Xavier E. Prida MD FACC FSCAI
> 
> 813 813 0721(H)
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> 813 245 3143(C)
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