Preventing Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care: Strategies for Advanced Practice Clinicians


Diagnostic errors occur often in primary care settings and can impact over 12 million outpatients annually. This is a top patient safety concern and a global burden among advanced practice clinicians (APCs). Significant patient harm can occur due to treatment delay, testing, or misdiagnosis. This course is an opportunity to promote awareness and visibility by identifying where these errors occur most often in the diagnostic process of care framework. Examples of some best practices for the diagnostic process involves a timely and accurate diagnosis, patient engagement, effective system processes, active follow up, and communication. The information in this course will focus heavily on prevention strategies related to the primary care setting.

Course ID #: ANE 221130.0 Issue Date: 7/6/2022 Expiration Date: 7/6/2025

Description of the Professional Practice Gap (PPG)
In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified diagnostic errors in primary care related to the 12-step diagnostic process of care framework. This course highlights where these errors occur specifically in the 12-step process, contributing factors, diagnostic error prevention strategies, and a case presentation highlighting contributing factors.

Learning Outcome

After completing this activity, the learner will identify and implement improvement strategies in their practice to decrease diagnostic error in a primary care setting.

Learning Objectives

After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Apply understanding of the 12-Step diagnostic process of care framework and determine where contributing factors exist in your primary practice setting to effectively recognize and implement appropriate improvement strategies for advanced practice clinicians.
  • Identify the top 5 areas of concern in the diagnostic framework and promote awareness within the practice to select and implement effective improvement strategies
  • Identify and implement improvement strategies for advanced practice clinicians in their practice to decrease the risk of diagnostic error in a primary care setting

Course Developers

Kimberly Hathaway, MSN, RN, CPHRM, CPHQ, Director Patient Safety Healthcare Quality & Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Leslie Castaneda, BSN, RN, Healthcare Quality & Risk Consultant, The Doctors Company
Jeffrey A. Gold, MD., Oregon Health and Science University, Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, School of Medicine
Robin Wessels, MBA, BSN, RN, CPHRM, Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Accreditation and Disclosure Statements

The Doctors Company is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

The Doctors Company designates this activity for a maximum of
0.75 nursing contact hourLearners should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity. 

Disclaimer Statement

This program is being offered for informational and educational purposes only from a Patient Safety Risk Management perspective and does not constitute legal advice. Laws vary from state to state, actual clinical situations often involve subtle differences and nuances from program scenarios or recommendations, and the recommendations provided in this activity may not apply to all practice situations. In complex circumstances, which present significant potential for an adverse event or litigation, TDC and the faculty recommend you consult directly with your corporate or personal counsel for professional legal guidance. 

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse CE Requirements by State.

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported on this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368.


Visit our Resource document for this program.