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HM13 Session Analysis: Diagnostic Errors & Hospitalists: Why they happen and how to avoid them

Jennifer Myers, the patient safety officer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and James Reilly, assistant professor of clinical medicine, at UPenn, expertly facilitated a hands-on workshop exploring cognitive biases and common heuristics encountered in the daily practice of hospital medicine. Techniques to identify potential cognitive errors and de-biasing strategies were explored.

Specific methods included:

  • Ishikawa diagrams (aka, cause-and-effect diagram, fish-bone diagram);
  • Review of common heuristics; and
  • Four double-check questions we can ask ourselves on every patient (Is this a case where I need to “slow down”?, What else could it be? What doesn’t fit? Could there be more than one thing going on?).

My favorite recommendation was: Practice “worst-case scenario” medicine. Consider the life threatening even if you don’t immediately test for it. TH

Dr. Lindsey is COO and strategist of Synergy Surgicalists, lead consultant of Asynd Consulting, and a Team Hospitalist member

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