Medical Student Elective to Improve Diagnosis in Health Care: Developing Solutions to Reduce Patient Harm

Jonelle Petscavage-Thomas, Jeanine Beatty-Chadha, Alison Chetlen, Rick Artrip, Janelle Welkie, Janet Neutze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: At our institution, a new medical student elective was designed and implemented by the department of radiology to teach medical students about diagnostic error. The purpose of this article is to describe the diagnostic error elective structure and implementation, present objective and subjective evaluations of the elective, and provide a model for other radiology departments to run their own electives. Materials and Methods: Starting in January 2018, a 2-week in-person career exploration session elective was offered for third year medical students. In 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the elective was expanded to fourth year medical students. All students were required to complete a project that addressed diagnostic error. Subjective comments were recorded, and objective measurements obtained from student evaluations. Results: A total of 11 sessions were held, consisting of 3 fourth year and 26 third year students. A total of 12 projects (11 groups) were completed, seven of which have been accepted for presentation at national meetings. On a 1 to 5 scale (5 highest), students rated their educational experience at a mean score of 4.61. Subjective comments focused on the benefit of exposure to new topics, mentorship by radiologists, and ability to complete a project in such a short time. Conclusion: Diagnostic errors and solutions are vague, new concepts to medical students and even facilitator faculty. This course allowed students to gain awareness of diagnostic error and could easily be replicated at other institutions with interested faculty and medical school support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1001
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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