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Study finds software can reduce radiology reporting errors

North Carolina patients who need to have medical imaging done using ultrasound or dual-energy X-ray radiology might be less likely to suffer as a result of errors in recording data if software designed to prevent errors comes into wide use. On March 20, the Journal of the American College of Radiology published the results of researchers' findings into mistakes and the technology that may help.

The researchers found that sonographers and radiologists made data entry errors in 6 to 28 percent of DEXA and ultrasound reports. It is estimated that over a five-year period, the software will save around $1 million in radiologist wages. The authors of the study said that while there is an initial cost associated with installing the software, over time it will pay off.

Medical errors that result in misdiagnosis, mismanaging a patient's condition and lengthier hospital stays can be costly to both patients and medical facilities. Medical facilities and professionals may face lawsuits for these types of errors if the error results in harm to the patient.

People who have suffered as a result of medical mistakes, including data that is recorded in error, might want to talk to an attorney about whether the error constitutes medical malpractice. For a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, in addition to demonstrating that the patient suffered harm, it must be shown that the patient did not receive a reasonable standard of care. This allows the legal system to distinguish between things such as delays in diagnoses of conditions that are difficult for all medical professionals to identify versus a delay in diagnosis that occurs due to a medical professional's negligence. Other examples of medical errors that could constitute malpractice are errors in medication, surgical errors such as leaving a tool behind in a patient, and errors in the process of labor and delivery that harm the mother or child.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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