Case Closed: Diagnostic Error

Course Description:

Multiple studies show diagnostic errors are among the most common, expensive, and harmful types of errors in all healthcare settings.  Nationally, diagnostic errors consistently rank as the leading allegation in medical malpractice claims, accounting for up to 1/3 of claims. Generally these errors don’t fall squarely on the shoulders of one professional.  Healthcare professionals are members of a complex health system delivering care, requiring an understanding of your systems and processes and recognition of gaps to reduce diagnostic errors. The diagnostic process involves detecting signs/symptoms, ordering diagnostic tests and formulating a diagnosis. Missed and delayed cancer diagnosis is the leading type of diagnostic error, but there are numerous others resulting from failure to track a test or referral, patients lost to follow-up, inadequate history and other communication deficits.

This program will study actual cases in order to increase awareness of these influential factors and help attendees recognize the need for appropriate strategies to reduce diagnostic error and increase patient safety. 

The program will utilize an anonymous audience response system to illustrate how simple lapses in the exchange of information can have catastrophic consequences for patients and healthcare professionals alike.  We will also provide solutions to help avoid common diagnostic errors.


Upon completion of this program, attendees should be able to:

  1. Recognize common pitfalls associated with diagnostic errors.
  2. Utilize a variety of tools to improve the diagnostic process.
  3. List common documentation issues affecting defensibility, particularly when utilizing electronic medical records.
  4. Explain what constitutes a claim of failure to diagnose in a malpractice case.

Speaker: Wendy L. Longmire, JD

Leading the program today is Wendy L. Longmire, D, a partner in the firm of Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford in Nashville. Ms. Longmire is an experienced litigator in jury and nonjury matters. In 2000, Ms. Longmire became board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, an American Bar Association accredited organization. She handles lawsuits involving medical malpractice, other professional negligence, premises liability, contract disputes, products liability, and employment litigation. Ms. Longmire routinely presents seminars regarding litigation, including medical malpractice and personal injury, to various corporate clients. As a member of the Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations, as well as, the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Lawyers Association for Women, Ms. Longmire stays active in the legal community. She is the immediate Past President for Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women.

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