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Types of misdiagnosis that can harm patients during COVID-19

Baylor College of Medicine News May 21, 2020

As healthcare systems handle the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of misdiagnosing a patient increases. Health safety experts at Baylor College of Medicine and Press Ganey Associates LLC in Boston identify eight types of diagnostic errors anticipated due to the pandemic and highlight strategies to minimize them. Their report was published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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“All of these misdiagnoses can lead to patient harm from delays in the correct treatment,” said Dr. Hardeep Singh, author and professor of medicine at Baylor and the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt). “Testing for COVID-19 has been a problem, but we have also seen new issues emerge such as reports of patients not seeking help due to fear of the pandemic, with delayed diagnosis of heart attacks, stroke diagnoses, and typical emergencies.”

“In this challenging time, it is essential to understand the types of diagnostic errors that can occur and build highly reliable systems to help support our clinicians and prevent harm to patients,” said Dr. Tejal Gandhi, the chief safety and transformation officer at Press Ganey.

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