December 15, 2022

ACEP, EM Organizations Issue Letter Regarding AHRQ Report on Diagnostic Errors in the ED

The American College of Emergency Physicians and nine other emergency medicine organizations issued a letter expressing their deep concern about a recently released report titled "Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review," which was conducted as part of AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program.

The letter states in part,

"...while it is clear that EM, just as all specialties, can improve, we have reviewed the materials available to us and identified multiple findings that are misleading, incorrectly interpreted, and, in several cases, incorrect. The initial request ... was to investigate opportunities to improve care in the ED. We see little in this report to identify such opportunities. Instead, we see a diagnostic error rate (derived from non-applicable European sources with training very different than that of the U.S.) and an analysis of malpractice data interpreted to be cognitive error.

"The repercussions of this faulty report cannot be overstated, as it will irresponsibly and falsely alarm the public and potentially lead them to delay or even forego treatment for time sensitive emergencies, while also undermining the relationship between patient and emergency physician. The intended effect of improving patient care and increasing patient safety may, in fact, paradoxically result in greater harm."

Read the full letter here.

The letter is signed by:

  • AAEM Resident and Student Association (AAEM RSA)
  • American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM)
  • American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM)
  • American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  • American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP)
  • Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine (AACEM)
  • Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (CORD)
  • Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA)
  • Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM)
  • SAEM Residents and Medical Students (RAMS)



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