risk of a diagnostic error

One of the greatest concerns Maine residents may have is the fear that their physician is not paying close attention to their symptoms. Indeed, an estimated 12 million patients suffer from misdiagnosis every year, which can have serious consequences. Recently, one physician developed a new tool that may drastically reduce the risk of a diagnostic error.

The tool is a new program that can access large amounts of data and analyze certain key phrases and outcomes that may signal the potential for a future error. In the past, hospitals that wished to review information relating to the number of misdiagnoses had to comb through countless records to tabulate the rate of poor patient outcomes. The focus was mainly on improving the hospital’s rate of misdiagnosis; however, the new program could switch the focus over to improving patient care.

The program can search data banks for certain recurring symptoms, such as those that can later lead to serious cardiac conditions or strokes. The program can pinpoint how many times a patient seeks help for seemingly mild symptoms that can often be missed signs that could lead to disability or death in just a few weeks or months. The physician who developed the program, referred to as SPADE, is hopeful that patients will eventually be able to access which hospitals use the system in their search for quality care.

The doctor behind the program stated that getting hospitals and physicians to accept the new technology will take time. In the end, though, if it proves to be useful for detecting cardiac events, strokes, or cancers, then it may be used to track chronic diseases as well. For the time being, Maine residents who have suffered from the ill effects of a misdiagnosis may also have sustained serious monetary harm. An experienced attorney could assist in filing a successful claim for compensation through a medical malpractice civil suit.

Source: sciencedaily.com, “A method to measure diagnostic errors could be key to preventing disability and death from misdiagnosis,” Jan. 22, 2018