How to lower the risk for radiology errors

August 22, 2019 | Crandall & Pera Law
How to lower the risk for radiology errors

Radiology plays a significant role in medical malpractice in Ohio and across the U.S. Some 30% of all diagnoses after CT scans and MRIs involve a false-positive reading. Roughly 80% of missed diagnoses in radiology can end in permanent injury or death. Medical errors in general are behind 10% of all deaths in the nation.

There are several best practices that the American Journal of Roentgenology promotes that can reduce the risk for radiology errors. One is to establish systematic procedures where peers can review each other's performance. Another is to address the widespread issue of physician burnout. Medical centers can do this by limiting work hours, mandating breaks at certain times and having a second radiologist read the results.

Next, it may be wise to consider how machine learning technology and AI can help in the accurate reading of large data sets. Many medical errors are caused by a lack of follow-up, so having a consistent system to ensure timely follow-ups, especially one that uses a data visualization platform, may be a good idea.

With more structured reporting, radiologists can better communicate with physicians and improve their thinking about what they are reading. One last step is to institute continual education to sharpen both intuitive and analytical thinking and address the issue for cognitive bias.

When someone suffers a heart attack, stroke or some other event and it turns out that the condition was never properly diagnosed, legal action may be warranted. The victim might want to hire a lawyer first to see if the case is likely to be a strong one. Legal counsel could also assist by negotiating for a settlement and taking the case to court if necessary.