WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today said the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in "Reducing Misdiagnosis and Other Diagnostic Errors" are essential to improving the medical diagnosis process and to reducing errors. The IOM is a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
"ACEP fully supports a dedicated focus on research in this area, as well as the concept of making diagnoses in teams across medical specialties, which happens every day in emergency departments," said Dr. Mike Gerardi. "ACEP also has long supported passage of medical liability reforms to encourage transparency and disclosure of medical errors, as well as to save costs. Emergency physicians will be very supportive of this report and its recommendations, which provide a clear, scientific path to making improvements in this complex area."
The report calls for health IT vendors to meet interoperability standards in order to enhance the free flow of information among health care providers. This is recommended because the diagnosis process can involve multiple health care professionals across different settings. ACEP has long supported interoperability of electronic health records because of the unique challenges of treating patients in emergency departments, about whom little may be known.
"Accessible electronic medical records are critical, especially in emergency medicine, but they are not a substitute for medical examinations or physicians spending time with patients," said Dr. Gerardi. "The report contains a terrific checklist to help patients convey the most important information a physician needs when making a diagnosis."
According to the report, patients and their families are critical partners in providing information to inform diagnosis and the decisions about their care. The report also recognizes that errors can be caused by systemic errors, in addition to human errors.
"The emergency department is a unique setting," said Dr. Gerardi. "We usually do not have a patient's medical history. Sometime we can make a definitive diagnosis, and sometimes we have to refer a patient to other medical specialists. It's important for patients to be partners in their care and to get followup care when needed."
According to the report, diagnostic errors are more common in the ambulatory care setting than in the inpatient or emergency department setting (56 percent versus 28 percent and 16 percent, respectively).
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.
SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)