Improving Diagnostic Fidelity: An Approach to Standardizing the Process in Patients With Emerging Critical Illness

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Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes


Objective: To reliably improve diagnostic fidelity and identify delays using a standardized approach applied to the electronic medical records of patients with emerging critical illness. Patients and Methods: This retrospective observational study at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, conducted June 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, used a standard operating procedure applied to electronic medical records to identify variations in diagnostic fidelity and/or delay in adult patients with a rapid response team evaluation, at risk for critical illness. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified predictors and compared outcomes for those with and without varying diagnostic fidelity and/or delay. Results: The sample included 130 patients. Median age was 65 years (interquartile range, 56-76 years), and 47.0% (52 of 130) were women. Clinically significant diagnostic error or delay was agreed in 23 (17.7%) patients (κ=0.57; 95% CI, 0.40-0.74). Median age was 65.4 years (interquartile range, 60.3-74.8) and 9 of the 23 (30.1%) were female. Of those with diagnostic error or delay, 60.9% (14 of 23) died in the hospital compared with 19.6% (21 of 107) without; P<.001. Diagnostic error or delay was associated with higher Charlson comorbidity index score, cardiac arrest triage score, and do not intubate/do not resuscitate status. Adjusting for age, do not intubate/do not resuscitate status, and Charlson comorbidity index score, diagnostic error or delay was associated with increased mortality; odds ratio, 5.7; 95% CI, 2.0-17.8. Conclusion: Diagnostic errors or delays can be reliably identified and are associated with higher comorbidity burden and increased mortality.

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ePub ahead of print