Think about this for a minute…imagine a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing every day for a year!!! How alarming would that be? That is how many people die a year from a misdiagnosis! 12 Million Americans are Misdiagnosed every year and 40,000 to 80,000 people are dying from a misdiagnosis. These errors are preventable!!
What is the definition of a diagnosis? The process of determining by examination the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition. The decision reached from such an examination. (cited from dictionary.com)
So, a misdiagnosis is the failure to establish an accurate and/or timely explanation of the patients health problem and the failure to communicate that information(diagnosis) to the patient. It is preventable and we are all part of the process in preventing this from occurring. A misdiagnosis can be several things…medication errors, delay in a diagnosis, “grey zone” problems , miscommunication, lack of coordination between physicians, inaccurate test results, lost paperwork, a wrong diagnosis, failure to diagnosis, etc. By misdiagnosing a patient, this not only delays treatment that is needed but at worst can kill you.
79% of diagnostic errors are due to miscommunication and they usually occur in the exam room. As a Private Patient Advocate, I accompany my clients to their doctors appointment to hopefully prevent this from happening to them. 39% of your Primary Care Physicians either delay your diagnosis or fail to diagnosis you. So, it is imperative that you either communicate effectively your extensive medical history and symptoms or get a 2nd opinion. Always listen to your gut! Your local Private Patient Advocate can assist you in providing a thorough narrative with a complete medical history to take and discuss at length with your physician. Getting a 2nd opinion is always a great idea and is encouraged. 88% of your 2nd opinions will give you a different diagnosis. 70% of people will get a 2nd opinion about Home Improvements while 55% of people will get a 2nd opinion about car repair. Why would you not get a 2nd opinion about Your Health??
"Diagnostic mistakes may also occur because of cognitive biases that cloud doctors’ judgement, says Mark Graber, president of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Such biases happen when doctors, like all of us, make assumptions about people based on their own beliefs or past experiences instead of rational judgement. A doctor might not diagnose a fit younger patient with heart disease, for example, but that might be the go-to diagnosis for an older, overweight person.” (sited from Prevention Magazine July 2017)
Diagnostic errors are not necessarily due to how smart your physician may or may not be. Physicians are overwhelmed with insurmountable amounts of paperwork, an overload of patients, keeping up with your Electronic Medical Records, and the added challenges they face in the complex HealthCare System. Many patients don’t question their Physicians as they are viewed as authority figures, but please listen to your body and ask questions. If you do not like the answers you are given…go somewhere else. Reach out to another Medical Professional or contact your local Private Patient Advocate for assistance!
There are several things that your local Private Patient Advocate can assist you with:
- coordination of care between you and your Physicians
- medication management
- preparing you for you upcoming visit
- helping you make informed medical decision
- provide you with 2nd opinions
- exploring different treatment options
- accompanying you to the Hospital, ER, doctors appointments, or any upcoming procedures
Everyone will experience a medical situation in their lifetime; young or old. It can happen in a second…no one is immune! Earlier this year an unexpected medical situation occurred to me. I slipped a disc in my neck which in turn resulted in a snowball affect of other health issues. I was proactive and contacted the right Medical Professionals to assist me with my care. The unexpected medical situation affected my personal and professional life for several months. However, I listened to my body and communicated effectively with my Medical Team to ensue the proper course of treatment that was best for me! Having an active membership with Hughes Advocacy will always give you peace of mind knowing that you have someone to reach out to when that unexpected medical situation arises.
You are given a diagnosis every time you go to the doctor; whether it is good or bad news. Doctors are the experts, but remember it is YOUR life! Don’t become a Statistic!! It is time to be proactive…not reactive! Contact Hughes Advocacy to help you be proactive in you or your families medical situation.