The impact of erroneous diagnoses can be devastating to the patient and their loved ones. It can lead to pain, suffering and significant financial losses, seeing as a fresh diagnosis has to be conducted and another treatment plan prepared and administered.
With the technological advancements of the past couple of years, you could be forgiven for thinking we have a better diagnostic accuracy rate now than we did two or three decades ago. Apparently, this is not the case, which begs the question of what exactly leads to diagnostic errors? Read on to find out common reasons for medical misdiagnosis.
Fragmentation of healthcare
Fragmentation of healthcare means entrusting your healthcare with more than one doctor and practice. Understandably, a single primary care physician may not have the expertise to diagnose and treat all medical issues, but checking with different healthcare professionals for the same or related conditions can result in a clash of treatments. The best thing to do is go to your primary care physician for all your problems and let them issue a referral if necessary.
With that being said, a misdiagnosis that arises from the fragmentation of care isn’t necessarily your fault. You can still file a medical malpractice claim and receive compensation for all your economic and non-economic losses arising from the misdiagnosis. Specialist lawyers, such as these ones at The Tinker Law Firm PLLC, can help determine if you have a case and even file the claim for you.
Overly brief doctor-patient appointments
Research shows that doctors spend an average of 10-15 minutes with their patients during appointments. This is not always enough time to listen to the patient, get to the bottom of their problem, and perform a guided test.
Poor communication during referrals
Costly miscommunications can occur when patients are being transferred between practices. Erroneous files may be handed over, while some may be omitted altogether. This creates a platform for mistakes since the new practice will likely start where the previous one left off. There is nothing you can do about this as a patient, but going to a reputable practice with better communication tools and policies will lessen your chances of being exposed to such risks.
Lack of sufficient information
For diagnoses that rely entirely on verbal tests, the risk of errors is even higher. The patient may not know how to express themselves or, in some cases, may choose to withhold some information because they find it embarrassing or unnecessary. Openness with your healthcare provider can ward off the possibility of this kind of diagnosis and save you costly remedial procedures.
Incomplete diagnostic testing
Many conditions exhibit the same symptoms and may call for more than one test for a conclusive and accurate diagnosis. Insurance constraints paired with a patient not willing to cover the uninsured bits of their diagnosis out of pocket can lead to the healthcare professional omitting a crucial phase of a diagnostic procedure. The outcome of this is a potentially erroneous diagnosis and an impotent treatment plan.
These are some of the common causes of medical misdiagnosis. Always go to a reputable practice and get second opinions if necessary to steer clear of the harsh ramifications of erroneous diagnoses.