New Report Shines Spotlight on Diagnostic Error; PULSE of NY Calls for Action

Responding to a new Institute of Medicine report highlighting the prevalence of diagnostic error in health care, patient advocacy group PULSE of NY calls for more education to help families and advocates communicate better with clinicians.

A new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/diagnostic-errors-put-millions-of-patients-at-risk-institute-of-medicine-report/) identifies diagnostic error in healthcare as a serious problem.

According to Ilene Corina, President of patient advocacy group PULSE of NY, “This report highlights the prevalence of diagnostic error, which, it says, has been inadequately measured and tracked. The study found that most errors are found only in retrospect. What does this mean for the health care profession? For researchers, there may now be more funding to research the problem. For patient safety experts, there’s clearly more need for conferences, analysis and training. For patients, and for the families of those who have died or suffered these errors, there is acknowledgment that the problem is real and that they are not ‘crazy.’”

A growing body of professional opinion, backed by research, holds that patients and families must be more involved in their own care. But what does that mean?  Who is creating the tools that drive involvement and bringing them to the public?  PULSE of NY is. www.pulseofny.org

"To help improve such patient-clinician communication and increase the chances of accurate diagnosis, PULSE of NY, with a team of patients and medical professionals, developed STARS. . .a reporting tool to help people describe their symptoms."

Ilene Corina, President, PULSE of NY

For example: last year, as part of PULSE’s community education in partnership with the Lupus Alliance of Long Island/Queens, during the Patient Safety Advisory Council workshops sponsored by North Shore LIJ Health System, participants living with Lupus said they were often misdiagnosed at first. They didn’t have nearly enough time to explain their symptoms and the clinician would start them off with the wrong diagnosis. And when asked how they would explain their symptoms, they used vague words. The workshop leader asked them to be more specific. The group began to examine at the words they had used and came up with better words and more specific ways to describe symptoms.

"To help improve such patient-clinician communication and increase the chances of accurate diagnosis," says Corina, "PULSE of NY, with a team of patients and medical professionals, developed STARS ('Specifics, Treatment, Associated Symptoms, Relieve or Provoke, Severity'), a reporting tool to help people describe their symptoms."

While teaching patient safety in the community for almost 20 years, PULSE of NY has developed tools inspired by patients’ real experiences to include the patient and family in the healthcare process. Through community workshops PULSE of NY constantly learns new and innovative ways to teach communication skills.


Categories: Healthcare, Healthcare, Medical, Education

Tags: better outcomes, corina, Diagnostic error, Institute of Medicine, Lupus, medical error, patient-centered, PULSE, reporting, STARS, symptoms


About Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE OF NY)

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Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE of New York) is a grassroots, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization working to improve patient safety and reduce the rate of medical errors.

Ilene Corina
Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE OF NY)

516-579-4711
Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (formerly PULSE OF NY)
PO Box 353
Wantagh, NY 11793-0353
United States