Table 2

Taxonomy of diagnostic error dimensions

Process dimensionDescriptionExample
Provider–patient encounterProblems with history, physical exam, or ordering diagnostic tests for further work-upSignificant symptoms are not noted or acted upon at the time of the encounter
Diagnostic testsProblems with ordered tests either not performed or performed/interpreted incorrectlyIncorrect laboratory test result due to mislabelled specimen
Follow-up and trackingProblems with follow-up of abnormal diagnostic test results or scheduling of follow-up visitsNo follow-up of an abnormal x-ray despite suspicious finding
ReferralsLack of appropriate actions on requested consultation or communication breakdown from consultant to referring providerConsultant requests additional information from referring provider, but referring provider does not respond to the enquiry
Patient-related issuesLow adherence to following physician recommendations and/or seeking care, failure to provide critical history informationPatient does not show up for a scheduled diagnostic test