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Techniques & Tools Clinical, Data Analysis

Addressing Diagnostic Error

Harmonization of laboratory test results is one of the most pressing issues in laboratory medicine – around 40 percent of medical encounters are informed by laboratory tests and pathology consultations. The landmark 1999 report from the US Institute of Medicine “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System” emphasized the importance of clinical practice guidelines to standardize decisions and treatments. Using guidelines was not new in 1999 but has assumed increasing importance in the practice of medicine. A 2015 follow up report from the Institute “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care” again emphasized the importance of guidelines and stressed that cooperation among the health care team, including laboratory professionals is essential to reduce diagnostic errors.

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About the Author

Greg Miller

Greg Miller is a professor in the Pathology Department at Virginia Commonwealth University where he serves as director of clinical chemistry and director of pathology information systems. He is an active contributor to several professional organizations addressing standardization and harmonization, quality control and external quality assessment/ proficiency testing. He is a past-president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. He received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, and the Robert Schaffer Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Development of Standards for Use in Laboratory Medicine from the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. He also featured on The Pathologist’s Power List 2015.

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