What interventions could reduce diagnostic error in emergency departments? A review of evidence, practice and consumer perspectives

Breanna Wright, Nicholas Faulkner, Peter Bragge, Mark Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to synthesise review evidence, practice and patient perspectives on interventions to reduce diagnostic error in emergency departments (EDs). A rapid review methodology identified nine systematic reviews for inclusion. Six practice interviews were conducted to identify local contextual insights and implementation considerations. Finally, patient perspectives were explored through a citizen panel with 11 participants. The rapid review found evidence for the following interventions: second opinion, decision aids, guided reflection and education. Practitioners suggested three of the four interventions from the academic review: second opinion, decision aids and education. Practitioners suggested four additional interventions: improving teamwork, engaging patients, learning from mistakes and scheduled test follow-up. Patients most favoured interventions that improved communication through education and patient engagement, while also suggesting that implementation of state-wide standards to reduce variability in care and sufficient staffing are important to address diagnostic errors. Triangulating these three perspectives on the evidence allows for the intersections to be highlighted and demonstrates the usefulness of incorporating practitioner reflections and patient values in developing potential interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • clinician perspective
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic error
  • emergency department
  • emergency medicine
  • mixed methods
  • patient engagement
  • patient safety
  • teamwork

Cite this