How Does a Misdiagnosis Happen?

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To prevent medical misdiagnosis – a common medical error that can seriously harm patients – it’s time to ACT.

The rate of patient misdiagnosis in the United States has been estimated as high as 40 percent. This includes when patients receive an incorrect diagnosis, a missed diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. Any of these medical errors can pose grave consequences to patients. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine asserts that one hospital patient dies from a misdiagnosis every nine minutes in this country.

In response, the society formed the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, which is a consortium of 40-plus healthcare organizations focused on reducing misdiagnoses in the United States. On September 13, it launched a new campaign in this ongoing effort.

Factors Involved in Misdiagnoses

The initiative is labeled ACT for Better DiagnosisTM. ACT stands for Accurate, Communicated, Timely – three key issues relating to medical misdiagnosis. The campaign wants to ensure that diagnoses are not only accurate but key communications and time periods in which they are made are improved.

To fight a problem you must first understand the reasons behind it. The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis and its ACT campaign pinpoint several reasons why serious medical misdiagnoses occur.

Patients facing serious health issues can be transferred numerous times between healthcare facilities and healthcare providers. It’s in these transitions where miscommunications can occur that can lead to misdiagnoses. ACT cites the need to improve communication between all involved in care so that important information is not missed along the treatment chain.

According to this campaign, the time a doctor spends with a patient is vital to obtaining a correct diagnosis. It acknowledges today’s scheduling demands but warns that physicians must invest the time to gather complete patient histories that are so necessary to avoiding an incorrect or missed medical diagnosis.

Hospitals and Patient Misdiagnosis

Because misdiagnosis is such a common and potentially fatal medical mistake, ACT calls for hospitals and doctors to place a bigger emphasis on analyzing them. Doctors who make a wrong diagnosis don’t often get feedback when this mistake occurs. They may not ever know about their mistake.

The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis calls for hospitals and physicians to look more closely at and better comprehend their roles in the diagnostic process. The goal is to develop standard measurements and a systematic plan to monitor and improve diagnoses made in hospitals.

Medical misdiagnosis is a potentially deadly medical error that happens far too often. Hospitals and physicians must act responsibly during this critical process. Otherwise, patients and their families may suffer needlessly.

If you had a loved one die from what you believe was an error in care – such as a misdiagnosis – consult a medical malpractice lawyer about your legal rights.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog September 17, 2018