Cancer, vascular events, and infection—the “Big three”—account for three-fourths of high-harm, diagnosis-related claims

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CRICO Strategies analyzed approximately 55,000 malpractice claims from CRICO Strategies Comparative Benchmarking System (CBS) to determine how many were attributable to diagnostic error. CBS is a database of more than 400,000 medical professional liability (MPL) claims drawn from more than 400 academic and community medical centers, and is estimated to contain 30% of all medical malpractice claims in the United States. 

The research confirms that inaccurate or delayed diagnosis remains the most common, most catastrophic and most costly of medical errors. The analysis provides additional context for a 2015 National Academy of Medicine report that highlighted that diagnostic errors result in up to 80,000 deaths annually in U.S. hospitals.

The research was funded by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The study published in the peer-review journal, Diagnosis, and is free access.