Johns Hopkins opens center to reduce diagnostic errors

To address the prevalence of diagnostic errors, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore will launch the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence. David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and otolaryngology, will lead the center.

The center's core objective will be to eliminate preventatable harm by achieving diagnostic excellence through innovation. A multidisciplinary physician team, nurses, health professionals and scientists wukk staff the center.

"Misdiagnosis is incredibly frequent because medicine is incredibly hard. There's uncertainty, complexity and incomplete information all the time," said Dr. Newman-Toker, who focuses on diagnostic research and safety. "But we can do better than we're doing right now, and our new center will lead change to make that a reality."

For their first signature initiative, center researchers will focus on reducing stroke misdiagnosis in five adult emergency departments across the Johns Hopkins Health System, with a goal of reducing harms from undetected stroke by 50 percent in five years.

Diagnostic errors affect approximately 12 million Americans annually. As much as one-third of these errors may result in serious injuries, including permanent disability or death.

"Medical misdiagnoses can happen to anyone at any time, including my father, who died from a medical mistake," said Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine. "With the new Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence, we envision a world where diagnoses are accurate, timely and effectively communicated to patients, avoiding both diagnostic error and overdiagnosis. Our patients deserve nothing less."

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