Accurate diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is an important clinical event in the life of a child and their family, and is often made by the family’s primary care provider or pediatrician. As such, it is imperative that these practitioners continue to critically evaluate and improve the diagnostic methods used to diagnose children presenting for an evaluation of ADHD symptoms. We evaluated the clinical records of children presenting to a pediatric office for evaluation to determine if they have ADHD. We found that all of the children presenting for evaluation were diagnosed as having some form of ADHD and stimulant medication treatments were recommended for all, even though a third of the children were found to have less than 1% probability of having ADHD based upon symptom information documented in the medical record. We discuss methods to improve diagnostic accuracy using an objective combination of clinical information from multiple sources.
J. Kim Penberthy, Josh Hook, Marc D. Breton, Carolyn F. Runyon , and Boris Kovatchev, “Retrospective Analysis of ADHD Diagnoses in an Outpatient Pediatric Clinic,” Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, 7 (2012).