Poor basic skills behind diagnostic errors

Failures in basic clinical skills are to blame for most diagnostic errors in primary care, rather than ignorance of any particular diseases, a study shows.

The study, which analysed 190 real-world diagnostic errors made by US primary care physicians, found these were scattered across 68 different conditions, ranging from substance abuse disorder to carpal tunnel syndrome, pulmonary embolism, gout and fractures.

Although pneumonia, congestive heart failure, renal failure and cancer were the most commonly missed diagnoses, they still made up a small fraction of overall slip-ups, researchers