10 ways nurses can improve diagnoses, reduce errors

Nurses play a key role in the diagnostic process in that they ensure communication and care coordination among diagnostic team members, monitor patients and may identify potential diagnostic inconsistencies or errors.

The committee that authored the Institute of Medicine's recent "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care" report offered 10 suggested actions nurses can take to improve the diagnostic process and reduce errors.

According to the suggestions, nurses should:

1. Know the major diagnosis of their patient

2. Advocate on the patient's behalf while navigating their healthcare

3. Assist the diagnostic team by detecting, reporting and documenting any and all changes in the patient's symptoms, signs, complaints or conditions

4. Monitor the diagnostic team as well as the patient to make sure he or she is responding to treatment as expected

5. Optimize communication between the patient and the care team by helping the patient tell their story and connect all of their symptoms while also making sure the patient understands his or her diagnosis

6. Be a watchdog for appropriate care coordination

7. Teach patients about the diagnostic process

8. Learn about how diagnostic errors occur and how they can be prevented

9. Educate patients about diagnostic tests, why they are necessary and what the results will reveal, as well as explain what the patient should expect

10. Support patients during emotionally and psychologically difficulties times, such as when a diagnosis is not yet known or is known to be bad

To read the full report, click here.



More articles on diagnostics:
IOM report outlines 8 goals to improve diagnosis, reduce errors
IOM releases landmark report on improving diagnostics in healthcare: 5 key issues
American Society for Microbiology announces $20M diagnostic contest

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