Patients and their families are usually the first to notice new or changing symptoms and they can play an important role in preventing diagnostic errors. This blog in BMJ Opinion describes how researchers, healthcare professionals and patients worked together to develop OurDX, an online tool designed to improve the efficiency of medical appointments and reduce diagnostic errors.
OurDX attempts to close communication gaps between different health care professionals and patients by making it easy to share information and ensuring transparency. Patients have access to clinician notes, meaning they can flag any perceived errors or areas of conflicting understanding. The tool also allows patients and their families to document their priorities, concerns and symptoms prior to a medical appointment.
- The number of patient-reported diagnostic breakdowns has been relatively small.
- Giving patients the opportunity to write about their experience has resulted in positive feedback that would otherwise not be captured.
- Some clinicians report that receiving information from patients before or at the visit helps organise the visit, engage patients, and speed up diagnosis in some instances.
- Concern from clinicians that reading information sent by patients would create additional time pressure has been mostly unfounded, as this information has provided greater efficiency.
- OurDX may decrease the burden of documentation by shortening clinician-written patient histories in notes.