Although data suggests that doctors make mistakes in one out of every 20 patients they diagnose, some believe that the number could be higher. The chairman of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis believes that doctors could make errors in up to 10 percent of all diagnoses that they make. He believes that there are steps that should be taken to improve education and communication with patients.
While a doctor may suggest that a patient get a second opinion, the practitioner may not know if that advice is taken or even see the patient again. Therefore, improved communication between doctors and patients could make patient hand-offs easier and reduce the risk of a misdiagnosis. Hospitals may also want to improve doctor education regardless of whether they are just starting out or have many years of experience.
Decreasing the number of patients who are diagnosed in error could save time as well as money. This is because each time patients receive a wrong diagnosis, their condition can get worse, which may cost more to treat. The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis believes that giving consumers a set of tools of their own to use can help them make more informed decisions about their health care.
A doctor who makes the wrong diagnosis may be liable for medical professional negligence. This may entitle a patient to compensation for medical bills and long-term care costs related to treating the symptoms. Affected patients may also be entitled to compensation to recoup lost wages or any future lost earnings if the misdiagnosis prevents them from working. An attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation may be able to review a case in order to determine the legal options that are available.