'The need to reframe diagnosis as a collaborative process involving a dynamic team of professionals, as well as the patient and his or her family members, is a fundamental message of the report. Citing the increasing complexity of medical care ... and growing numbers of patients with multiple chronic conditions, the report states that the traditional model of diagnosis as a solitary activity is ineffective. Training in teamwork and communication is a staple of efforts to improve patient safety. In diagnosis, the professional team may change frequently depending on the setting and the kinds of expertise the patient’s problems require. The team should also include the patient whenever possible. The report describes diagnostic teams as 'fluid' and 'unstable', requiring specialized training for collaboration and teamwork.'
We see this every day in hospitals when doctors fail to make the most of every possible source of history - ambulance sheet, ED notes, telephoning the care home or relatives; or when doctors do not seek out nurses to ask them what they have observed; or when the team (including the patient and their relatives or carers) don't communicate with each other about what the problems are and what the plan should be. The first two recommendations in the report are:
- Enhance healthcare professional education and training in the diagnostic process
- Facilitate more effective teamwork in the diagnostic process among health care professionals, patients, and their families