Decoding the Signal from the Noise: Building the Evidence Base to Prevent Pre-hospital Diagnostic Delays
This meeting summary provides insights into pre-hospital diagnostic delay by detailing the lived experiences of patients and summarizing the perspectives of clinical experts, health services researchers, and key stakeholders to pave the way for future research.
Preventing diagnostic delays offers real opportunities to improve patient experiences and outcomes. While research and quality improvement efforts have focused on delays once patients reach hospitals, less is known about delays along the diagnostic journey from onset of patient symptoms to primary care to emergency medical services.
On behalf of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, AcademyHealth convened patients, clinical experts, researchers, and other stakeholders in October 2022 to inform a call for proposals to advance the evidence base for pre-hospital diagnostic delays related to cancer, sepsis, and acute cardiovascular conditions. Participants identified a myriad of interacting factors that can stymy timely and accurate diagnoses—from economic, cultural/language, and other access barriers to implicit biases across gender, age, race, ethnicity, and other personal characteristics—all compounded by a health care system that lacks cohesiveness, or “systemness,” as many meeting participants described it. This meeting illuminates multiple avenues for research to address pre-hospital diagnosis delay.