Contributors to Diagnostic Error or Delay in the Acute Care Setting: A Survey of Clinical Stakeholders

Sarah Redmond, Amelia Barwise, Sarah Zornes, Yue Dong, Svetlana Herasevich, Yuliya Pinevich, Jalal Soleimani, Allison LeMahieu, Aaron Leppin, Brian Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diagnostic error or delay (DEOD) is common in the acute care setting and results in poor patient outcomes. Many factors contribute to DEOD, but little is known about how contributors may differ across acute care areas and professional roles. As part of a sequential exploratory mixed methods research study, we surveyed acute care clinical stakeholders about the frequency with which different factors contribute to DEOD. Survey respondents could also propose solutions in open text fields. N = 220 clinical stakeholders completed the survey. Care Team Interactions, Systems and Process, Patient, Provider, and Cognitive factors were perceived to contribute to DEOD with similar frequency. Organization and Infrastructure factors were perceived to contribute to DEOD significantly less often. Responses did not vary across acute care setting. Physicians perceived Cognitive factors to contribute to DEOD more frequently compared to those in other roles. Commonly proposed solutions included: technological solutions, organization level fixes, ensuring staff know and are encouraged to work to the full scope of their role, and cultivating a culture of collaboration and respect. Multiple factors contribute to DEOD with similar frequency across acute care areas, suggesting the need for a multi-pronged approach that can be applied across acute care areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Services Insights
StatePublished - 2022


  • Diagnostic error or delay
  • acute care
  • delayed diagnosis
  • diagnostic error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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