Primary care pediatricians' interest in diagnostic error reduction

Michael L. Rinke, Hardeep Singh, Sarah Ruberman, Jason Adelman, Steven J. Choi, Heather O'Donnell, Ruth E.K. Stein, Tammy M. Brady, Moonseong Heo, Christoph U. Lehmann, Steven Kairys, Elizabeth Rice-Conboy, Keri Theissen, David G. Bundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Diagnostic errors causing harm in children are understudied, resulting in a knowledge gap regarding pediatricians' interest in reducing their incidence. Methods: Electronic survey of general pediatricians focusing on diagnostic error incidence, errors they were interested in trying to improve, and errors reduced by their electronic health record (EHR). Results: Of 300 contacted pediatricians, 77 (26%) responded, 58 (19%) served ambulatory patients, and 48 (16%) completed the entire questionnaire. Of these 48, 17 (35%) reported making a diagnostic error at least monthly, and 16 (33%) reported making a diagnostic error resulting in an adverse event at least annually. Pediatricians were "most" interested in "trying to improve" missed diagnosis of hypertension (17%), delayed diagnosis due to missed subspecialty referral (15%), and errors associated with delayed follow-up of abnormal laboratory values (13%). Among the 44 pediatricians with an EHR, 16 (36%) said it reduced the likelihood of missing obesity and 14 (32%) said it reduced the likelihood of missing hypertension. Also, 15 (34%) said it helped avoid delays in follow-up of abnormal laboratory values. A third (36%) reported no help in diagnostic error reduction from their EHR. Conclusions: Pediatricians self-report an appreciable number of diagnostic errors and were most interested in preventing high frequency, non-life-threatening errors. There exists a need to leverage EHRs to support error reduction efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic error
  • pediatrics
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Health Policy
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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