Diagnostic Errors More Prevalent Than Expected

 A study of diagnostic errors reveals that these errors are much more prevalent than Hawaii medical malpractice lawyers would like to believe.  According to the study, nearly 47% of clinicians said that they came across diagnostic errors in their practice every month.  These errors included misdiagnosis, late diagnosis and wrong diagnosis.

The study surveyed more than 6,400 clinicians.  According to the study, 54% of the clinicians believed that up to 10% of diagnostic errors may have resulted in direct harm to the patient.  Not all is bad news however.  96% of the clinicians said that they believed that diagnostic errors were preventable at least some of the time. 

However, Hawaii medical malpractice attorneys don’t find a lot of attention being paid to the reduction of diagnostic errors in hospitals.  There are initiatives aplenty to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, including deadly centerline-associated bloodstream infections.  There are also strategies in place to prevent medication errors, and with good cause.  These kinds of errors kill tens of thousands of people every year.  However, the fact that close to half of the surveyed clinicians found diagnostic errors in their practice highlights the need for investments in preventing these kinds of errors.

Prevention of diagnostic errors in hospitals may be much more challenging than prevention of medication errors or hospital-acquired infections.  However, the researchers believe that a combination of scientific approaches and personal input from doctors should help reduce the number of such errors.  Doctors can use computerized tools to support their diagnostic efforts.  Hospitals can also invest in training to encourage doctors to think in ways that reduce diagnostic errors.  For instance, many diagnostic errors occur because doctors are simply not trained to consider other diagnostic probabilities.  These are challenges that could be overcome through training.

Posted in Medical Malpractice

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