You rely on doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to provide an accurate diagnosis of your health issues. However, diagnostic errors occur frequently among patients and can lead to a very poor health outcome depending on the situation.
While it is up to hospitals and clinics to provide the best care possible, patients should also have the right information to protect themselves. Here are a few important points to keep in mind.
Which conditions cause the most harm when misdiagnosed?
While all diagnosis errors require immediate review, some can cause more harm than others. In general, misdiagnosis of cancer, infection, and vascular disease, such as those related to strokes and blood clots, cause the most severe issues among patients. Misdiagnosis can occur for many reasons, but mistakes with clinical judgement are most common.
When does misdiagnosis most often occur?
Due to the fast-paced nature of most emergency medical departments, there is a higher risk of misdiagnosis in these situations. In this case, people seeking urgent treatment for vascular problems or infection are most likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis.
Issues can also occur in outpatient settings, such as doctor’s offices and medical clinics. In this case, those patients most affected are seeking assistance for a cancer diagnosis.
How can medical staff prevent future errors?
New technology can help prevent some diagnosis errors, as essential patient information is readily available to medical staff using digital storage of health records. Medical workers must also prioritize good communication with each other, as this can help prevent the spread of misinformation related to a patient’s condition.
Researchers encourage better collection of data regarding the effects of misdiagnosis. By determining a pattern or trend of events that eventually lead to misdiagnosis, doctors and other medical staff can develop improved methods for avoiding it.