A chilling report from the Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC says that most people will suffer at least one wrong medical diagnosis in their life. Forbes magazine summarized the report, in which authors found, “…5% of American adults who receive outpatient care every year are victims of erroneous diagnoses. Such errors are responsible for up to 17% of adverse events in hospitals and 10% of patient deaths. And diagnostic mistakes comprise the most common types of paid medical malpractice claims.”
IOM Report says patients can help fix the problem
The solution, the report recommends, is to get patients more involved in their own medical care. However, doctors are trained professionals; their sole job is to diagnose and prevent harm. Car companies do not ask customers to tinker around under the hood. In fact, aside from basic maintenance, you are encouraged to let professionals diagnose and solve any problem.
So why is the healthcare system different? According to Michael Cohen, professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and member of the committee that published the recent report, “Making a diagnosis is a complex problem. To improve the whole process we need to be better integrated in terms of how we address patients’ problems. Teamwork across disciplines is really critical.”
Cohen’s comment points to a larger problem; medical technology is not being utilized to its’ fullest potential. Electronic health records are largely aimed at compliance. The report states that most EHRs are “…aimed at meeting billing and legal requirements.” Because these records are not being used to increase clarity between doctors, laboratory technicians, and specialists, they create a failure point as opposed to strengthening the system.
The long and short of it is that this report encourages patients to be more involved in their own care. This is not a bad concept, but the healthcare system is not currently designed to encourage patient input. Often times, patient intervention is considered an annoyance at best.
While there is no doubt that being more involved in your own healthcare can only benefit you, your lack of questioning is not an excuse for a misdiagnosis. When you or a loved one is sick, you may not have the emotional strength or the presence of mind to ask insightful questions.
In this situation, having an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side could save your life. If you or someone you know has suffered a misdiagnosis, please contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free consultation at one of our Ohio or Kentucky offices.