No real change in DX error over 9 years

Jason Maude Jason.Maude at ISABELHEALTHCARE.COM
Thu Dec 4 18:58:29 UTC 2014

No doubt you’ve seen the survey of medical error in MA carried out by the Betsey Lehman Center which was published a few days ago.

Sadly the results show very little change over the last 9 years!

Our founding charity carried out a similar survey on a national basis back in 2005 and the results were similar.

 *   Percentage of people who say they had experienced a medical mistake: In the 2005 Isabel Medical Charity survey it was 35% compared to 23% in the 2014 Betsy Lehman Center survey. This looks better but the 2005 question was whether 'you or someone you know' experienced a medical mistake whereas in 2014 the question was about being 'personally involved’ and also the Lehman question asked about ‘preventable’ mistakes rather than just a medical mistake. I am not sure how many patients would know whether it had been preventable or not. I would argue that the different wording would get a significantly smaller number.

 *   Percentage of those mistakes that were misdiagnosis:  In 2005 the figure was 50% but has risen slightly to 51% in the Lehman survey.

This means that in 2005 17.5% of the adult population in the USA had directly experienced or knew somebody who had experienced a diagnostic error whereas in 2014 11.7% of the adult population in MA had personally experienced a preventable diagnostic error.

Not much to cheer about there!


Jason Maude
Founder and CEO Isabel Healthcare
Tel: +44 1428 644886
Tel: +1 703 879 1890<>

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