1 in 6 physicians make diagnostic errors every day

One in six physicians report making diagnostic errors daily, according to a Medscape poll.

Medscape surveyed 633 physician and 118 nurse practitioners/physician assistant for the poll, which was posted June 26. 

4 survey findings:

1. Responses varied by specialty, with pediatricians less likely to say they made diagnostic errors (11 percent) than physicians in internal medicine (15 percent), family medicine (18 percent) general practice (22 percent) and emergency medicine (26 percent).

2. Seventeen percent of nurses, advanced practice registered nurses and PAs said they made diagnostic errors daily.

3. Compared to physicians, NPs/PAs were more likely to report daily diagnostic uncertainty, Medscape says. Sixty-four percent of NPs/PAs estimated feeling diagnostically uncertain everyday, while only 52 percent of physicians reported the same.

4. Among all clinicians, the three most common reasons for making diagnostic errors were "lack of feedback on diagnostic accuracy," followed by "time constraints" and "a culture that discourages disclosure or errors," reports Medscape.

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