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How common are misdiagnoses in health care?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

When you experience new symptoms and health concerns, you naturally expect your doctor to provide answers. And in many cases, medical professionals can get to the bottom of health issues quickly and efficiently.

However, medical misdiagnoses pose a huge threat to patient wellness, and these events are unfortunately common. Here are a few factors to consider about misdiagnosis to ensure you have the right information.

How big a problem are medical misdiagnoses?

One only needs to look at relevant statistics to determine the effect misdiagnosis has on patients. Approximately 12 million people receive inaccurate diagnoses on a yearly basis in the U.S. Additionally, estimates show that these errors contribute to the deaths of 40,000 to 80,000 patients each year.

Causes of medical errors vary greatly. Medical professionals are prone to the same mistakes as other people, so human error is often a factor in misdiagnosis. However, the issue can also result from problems with established procedures at hospitals and clinics. Because the issue is so complex, it requires multiple solutions to ensure optimum patient health and wellness.

What solutions exist for this problem?

To reduce the chance of medical errors like misdiagnosis, authorities encourage a team approach to diagnostics. That means the doctors, patients, and their loved ones must work in conjunction to ensure accuracy and understanding. It is equally important for medical staff to have access to continuous training and education, which ensures they can provide quality care to patients.

While new technology can lessen the chance of errors, medical providers must use this technology in the most effective way possible. Also, hospitals and clinics should have a system in place to report errors. Error reports provide key information regarding what happened and how to avoid the issue in the future.

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