Background: Misdiagnosis may be a significant and under-recognized quality of care problem. In birthing facilities located in an urban Philippine setting, we investigated the diagnostic accuracy for three obstetric conditions: cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), post-partum hemorrhage (PPH), and pre-eclampsia.
Design: Identical simulated cases were used to measure diagnostic accuracy for every provider (n=103). We linked misdiagnosis – identified by the simulated cases – to obstetrical complications of the patients at the participating facilities. Patient-level data on health outcomes and costs were obtained from medical records and follow-home in-person interviews.
Results: The prevalence of misdiagnosis among obstetric providers was 29.8% overall, 25% for CPD, 33% for PPH, and 31% for pre-eclampsia. Linking provider decision-making to patients, we found those who misdiagnosed the simulated cases were more likely to have patients with a complication (OR 2.96; 95% CI 1.39–3.77) compared with those who did not misdiagnose. Complicated patients were significantly less likely to be referred to a hospital immediately, were more likely to be readmitted to a hospital after delivery, had significantly higher medical costs, and lost more income than non-complicated patients.
Conclusion: Diagnosis is arguably the most important task a clinician performs because it determines the subsequent course of evaluation and treatment, with the direct and indirect costs of diagnostic error, placing large financial burdens on the patient.
Shimkhada, R., O. Solon, D. Tamondong-Lachica, and J.W. Peabody. 2016. “Misdiagnosis of obstetrical cases and the clinical and cost consequences to patients: a cross-sectional study of urban providers in the Philippines.” Global Health Action. 9(32672). Published online 15 December 2016.