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Inside the Lab Regulation and standards, Quality assurance and quality control

The IoM Takes on Diagnostic Error

A long-awaited follow up to the US Institute of Medicine’s (IoM) medical error and healthcare quality reports, “To Err is Human” (2000) and “Crossing the Quality Chasm” (2001) has set its sights on yet another troubling area in healthcare – diagnostic error.

The new report focuses on three major challenges lab specialists face during the diagnostic process: diagnostic error and the lack of reliable data available on error rates, the importance of ensuring the diagnostic process is patient-centered, and the need for collaboration between the laboratory and the clinic (see Table).

The report authors emphasize that, in order to bring about improvement in this crucial aspect of healthcare, commitment is needed from healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and patients themselves. They conclude that, unless more is done to tackle the current issues, “diagnostic errors will likely worsen as the delivery of healthcare and the diagnostic process continue to increase in complexity”.

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  1. The Institute of Medicine, “Improving diagnosis in healthcare”, (2015). Available at: Accessed October 7, 2015.
About the Author
Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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