Public Release: 

Preventing misdiagnosis a top priority at University of Virginia hospital

University of Virginia Health System

Reston, Va. and Charlottesville, Va.--August 29, 2007--Isabel Healthcare, Inc. today announced that University of Virginia Hospital is using the Isabel's diagnosis decision support and knowledge mobilizing system to improve patient care by attempting to help minimize diagnostic errors. It is the state's first medical center to provide physicians with access to Isabel, a Web-based system proven to improve the quality of diagnosis at the point of care.

It has been estimated that nationwide, one in 20 patient in-hospital deaths are a result of misdiagnosed illnesses and approximately one in six patients experiences a misdiagnosis during their lifetime. This typically occurs due to the cognitive error of premature closure - failure to consider all likely diagnoses.

The Isabel system helps physicians analyze patient symptoms and clinical features. In a split second at the point of care, Isabel addresses a question clinicians frequently ask themselves: What other diagnoses I should be considering" Isabel acts as an instant reminder system and aids in the diagnostic process, however, it is still up to the provider's clinical judgment to determine which diagnoses to investigate and treat.

"The diagnostic process is incredibly complex ," Stephen Borowitz, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the University of Virginia . "Isabel can help physicians feel more confident that we have considered all the potential diagnoses and we are not overlooking something. This may prevent misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis, furthering the University of Virginia's commitment to deliver the highest quality patient care."

Isabel has been shown to save critical moments in the diagnostic process, particularly when physicians are presented with complex cases, by reducing the need to cross reference symptoms from multiple sources. Additionally, a study led by Dr. Borowitz and presented at AMIA 2006: Biomedical and Health Informatics, demonstrated that in ten percent of simulated patient cases, Isabel caused the physician to consider a major diagnosis they had not previously considered, but should have.

"Increasingly, hospitals are realizing the value of diagnosis decision support systems to minimize the risk of error," said Joseph Britto, MD, chief executive officer, Isabel Healthcare. "Isabel is a validated system that simply reminds the physician of all possible diagnoses, including uncommon diseases. Isabel augments the thought process but leaves the ultimate diagnosis decision to the physician."

In addition to supporting quality patient care at the Hospital, Isabel has also been used as a knowledge resource and teaching tool for residents and medical students. Patients present with clinical features and Isabel helps convert clinical features into likely diagnoses. Isabel thus enables residents and students to remain up-to-date on new studies, presenting symptoms, diseases and drugs.


About University of Virginia Hospital

Based in Charlottesville, Va., the UVa Health System embodies the leadership and inventiveness personified by its founder, Thomas Jefferson. In 1825, Jefferson established the nation's 10th medical school, which has since grown into a nationally renowned academic medical center committed to providing outstanding patient care, educating tomorrow's health care leaders and discovering better and new ways to treat and prevent disease.

About Isabel Healthcare

Isabel Healthcare, founded in 2000 by Jason Maude and Dr. Joseph Britto, is named after Maude's daughter who almost died after a potentially fatal illness was not recognized by family and emergency room physicians. The Isabel system is comprised of two components: the Isabel Diagnosis Reminder System (IDRS) and the Isabel Knowledge Mobilizing System (IKMS). Given a patient's clinical features, Isabel searches a database of more than 11,000 diagnoses and 4,000 drugs to provide clinicians with a checklist of likely diagnoses and/or drugs that may be causing a patient's symptoms, as well as additional disease specific knowledge. The Isabel system, validated in clinical trials, is designed to improve the quality of diagnosis decision making at the point of care. For more information, please visit

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