An upcoming educational event aims to improve diagnostic processes and reduce errors in general practice.
“Diagnosis is at the very heart of medicine – [and] general practice is at the heart of the quality and safety of the diagnostic process for our patients and our communities.
This is Associate Professor Carmel Crock, chair and moderator of the next ANZA−SIDM Conference on Improving Diagnostics 2022which takes place as a virtual event on April 28 and 29.
The stated mission of the conference is to reduce diagnostic errors and to learn and promote accurate and timely diagnosis to ensure safety, quality and efficiency in clinical decision making.
General practitioner and medical educator at GP Synergy, Dr Marisa Magiros, which features a conference session focused on primary care, says the event’s theme of “Facing Challenges and Change” is ubiquitous as the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘All the problems [covered in the conference program] have become more important during the pandemic,” said Dr Magiros newsGP.
“The whole conference is relevant to primary care, as we are dealing with the majority of the population, as well as marginalized groups.”
Dr. Magiros said the multidisciplinary education offered at the conference is “key” and provides an opportunity for broader learning and collaboration.
Some of the key topics that will be covered include:
- diagnostic disparities and diversity – including among women, homeless and mentally ill
- the growing role of digital health in the diagnosis
- a number of diagnostic presentations related to COVID.
There will also be interactive workshops on communication and cognitive strategies to reduce misdiagnosis, coping after a mistake, and patient perspectives.
“The conference will foster lively debate, with panel discussions, workshops and presentations of the latest research in the area of diagnostic quality and safety,” said Dr Magiros.
“Along with the latest research, the focus will be on education and clinical reasoning, practice improvement, communication and culture to improve diagnosis.”
Dr Magiros also acknowledged the diversity of care provided by GPs and the challenges that come with it, and said the conference program aims to strengthen this role.
“GPs are masters at dealing with uncertainty and undifferentiated disease,” she said.
“We use our communication skills and relational skills to provide holistic and longitudinal care.
“The diagnostic process is a complex and iterative task that often requires multiple perspectives and opinions. General practitioners, like all clinicians, are sensitive to biases, gaps in knowledge and clinical reasoning, and systems failures that can contribute to misdiagnosis.
“We all have a role to play in preventing harm to patients and minimizing misdiagnosis. We can all learn new tricks or improvements to current practice.
As shared decision-making is a key part of the diagnostic process, the conference will also promote ways to increase patients’ understanding of their crucial role as ‘co-producers’ of a safer diagnosis through a case scenario. clinic between a general practitioner and the patient, facilitated by Doctor Magiros.
“It’s really important that we learn directly from our patients how we can do better,” she said.
“Hearing the patient’s perspective is very powerful, especially for difficult diagnoses.
“Solving such difficult cases in general practice takes time, commitment to the patient and a supportive network of peers, specialists and hospital departments.”
The session will include an explanation of the steps of clinical reasoning and the normalization of “asking for help”.
Ultimately, Associate Professor Crock said the conference will challenge GPs and other healthcare professionals to “think differently” about how they diagnose.
“Our goal is to learn from examples of diagnostic excellence and to share and learn diagnostic pitfalls across different specialties,” she said.
“This conference has helped put diagnostic quality, safety and excellence on the patient safety map in Australia and New Zealand and is a must for clinicians passionate about diagnostics in medicine.”
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