Roughly 12 million people in Ohio and throughout the country are misdiagnosed by a medical professional each year. Minorities are up to 30% more likely to be misdiagnosed than white patients. According to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, up to 80,000 people die each year as a result of these errors. There are many reasons why diagnostic errors occur, which is why it is difficult to come up with solutions to prevent them.
However, there are steps that the medical community can take to produce better outcomes for patients. For instance, it may be possible to use technology to learn more about patients or to enhance communication between physicians, patients and other stakeholders. There should also be a system in which mistakes can be reported in a safe and timely manner. The person or entity that is liable for the mistake should be held liable for that error.
Changes can also be made to how medical students are taught to diagnose conditions in patients. Currently, they are taught to solve problems by looking for patterns. However, this can result in cognitive biases that cloud a medical professional’s judgement. Finally, hospitals and other institutions are encouraged to stop thinking that there is nothing they can do minimize the risk of diagnostic errors occurring.
Individuals who are harmed because of a failure to diagnose their medical conditions may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Compensation may help to pay for medical bills, lost wages and lost future earnings. An attorney might be able to help an injured patient prove that an error was the result of medical professional negligence. Negligent acts may include refusing to run a test or failing to take a patient’s symptoms into account when coming up with an initial diagnosis.