Report Offers Solutions for Diagnostic Errors in Medicine
Misdiagnosis has become an aspect of the American health care system most likely to injure or kill patients. In a report released by the Institute of Medicine, 21 physicians and health care professionals offered solutions for preventing erroneous diagnoses.
The report claims 5 percent of Americans receiving outpatient care will fall victim to incorrect diagnoses, which in some cases can be fatal. In fact, diagnosis errors are responsible for 10 percent of patient deaths. Being diagnosed with migraines, when in fact, a patient has a treatable brain tumor can be one example. Unfortunately, many diagnostic errors happen in retrospect, when it is already too late to save the lives of patients.
How Can Diagnostic Errors in Medicine Be Prevented?
According to the report, effectively preventing such errors requires several solutions, such as communication between hospital departments, transparency, additional training and listening to patients and families.
- Communication between different departments in hospitals is vital to ensuring patients are properly diagnosed. Physicians, family members, laboratories and nurses must effectively communicate test results, medical histories and other information related to patients. To diagnose patients it takes teamwork.
- Transparency is very important for avoiding diagnostic errors. When diagnostic errors occur, a reporting of how it happened should exist so future health care practitioners know how to avoid making the same mistakes.
- Additional training can help health care workers master teamwork, communication and diagnostic testing.
- Patients and families should take a more “hands on” role during treatments. These groups help inform physicians of family histories and other information that can help avoid diagnostic errors.
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