Foundational Readings

This list serves as the launch of your journey to explore the diagnostic error literature base. The references below link readers to articles that cover concepts, challenges, and avenues for diagnostic improvement.

While this is not a comprehensive list of all the evidence and activity associated with improving diagnosis, these are foundational and current scholarly articles to guide your learning about diagnostic error and the diagnostic process.

If available, links to the full text have been provided as well as links to the PubMed database. Some articles will only be available to subscribers.

The collection is primarily limited to materials published within the last five full years, with a select list of legacy materials, dating back further but having significant impact on the field.


Diagnostic Error 101

Overarching challenges, causes and solutions to diagnostic error from a foundational perspective.

The Extent of Diagnostic Error

The scope of diagnostic error, its presence and impact on a global, economic, and systemic scale.

Disparities in Diagnosis

How ethnic, gender and age factors manifest in implicit biases as contributors to diagnostic error and delay.

Specialty/Clinical Area Diagnostic Error Concerns

Examples of clinical and environmental factors with a focus on distinct specialties, conditions or care delivery environments.

Cognitive Process Considerations

Human characteristics that can affect the safety of decision making.

Individual Reasoning and Decision Making

How conclusions regarding diagnosis are made.

The Role of Tests and Laboratory Processes in Diagnostic Error

How test results are developed, interpreted and shared as contributors can contribute to diagnostic error and delay.

Diagnosis as a Team Sport

The value in multidisciplinary contributions to diagnostic improvement through enhancing communication, disclosure and learning.

Individual Skill Interventions and Tools

Strategies to improve the skills needed to support reliable diagnosis.

Educational Interventions to Improve Diagnosis

Approaches to embed diagnostic skill development in to early learning opportunities for clinicians.

Patients and Families as Partners in Diagnostic Error Reduction

Patient and family engagement in the diagnostic process and their role as key partners in diagnostic improvement.

Culture and Work System Influences on Diagnosis

Organizational, cultural and environmental factors that manifest themselves in unsafe and unseen conditions that facilitate poor diagnostic performance.

Information Technology and Diagnostic Error

Technology as a factor in diagnostic error and improvement.

Stethoscope on computer
Examine Clinical Reasoning

Looking for more resources? The Clinical Reasoning Toolkit includes dozens of articles and resources, examining the area of diagnostic and clinical reasoning.

Latest Research in the Field

For the most recently published articles in the field, check out AHRQ PSNet.