3 disease categories account for most diagnosis-related harms, study finds

Three major disease categories account for nearly three-quarters of all serious diagnosis-related harms, according to a study published in Diagnosis.

The three categories are misdiagnosed cancers (involved in 37.8 percent of diagnosis-related harms), vascular events (22.8 percent) and infections (13.5 percent). 

To conduct the study, researchers examined the 11,592 diagnostic error cases recorded from 2006-15 in the national Comparative Benchmarking System database's list of open and closed U.S. malpractice claims, according to Science Daily. They organized all health conditions listed in the claims using an epidemiologic classification system from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which helped them identify and rank different conditions.

Fifteen specific diseases within those categories account for nearly half of diagnosis-related harms. This suggests "the most serious harms can be attributed to a surprisingly small number of conditions," David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, the research team's leader, told Science Daily.

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