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App-assisted diagnostics have potential to reduce misdiagnoses

People in Texas routinely look to mobile applications to help them navigate streets, find dates or buy show tickets. However, many are unaware of the benefits that health apps can have on patient care. An app called PTT Advisor recently received a favorable evaluation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and university researchers. Testing showed that the app improved the accuracy of diagnoses for coagulation and bleeding disorders by 13 percent.

These diseases frequently challenge physicians. However, the app helped doctors select the right tests for patients, which improved diagnostic decisions. The researchers compared the app to traditional disease research methods such as searching the internet and reference books. Physicians from seven institutions participated in the study. Researchers presented them with eight scenarios based on real clinical cases that had proven difficult to diagnose. The physicians used the app while evaluating four cases and their usual methods for the other four cases.

App usage also sped up diagnostic decision making by 22 percent, or 51 seconds, compared to standard methods. The participating physicians expressed approval for the app and recognized its potential to support diagnostic accuracy. The medical researchers anticipate the adoption of health apps for physicians in the future.

An accurate diagnosis is essential for a patient to receive appropriate and timely care. A physician who does not evaluate a patient comprehensively and fails to diagnose a serious condition might be held responsible for medical malpractice. A patient injured because of unnecessary or delayed treatment could work with an attorney to build a legal case. The lawyer might use an independent physician to provide testimony about a medical provider's negligence.

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