Misdiagnosis is a common type of medical malpractice that occurs when diagnosis is incorrect. Typically, misdiagnosis leads to a failure to provide the patient with the proper treatment. Certain types of medical conditions are subject to misdiagnosis more frequently than others, such as cancer and heart attacks.
According to Healthcare IT News, estimates show that misdiagnosis ranges between 10 to 15 percent of all types of medical diagnoses. An earlier study published in BMJ Quality and Safety also provides facts that approximately 40,000 to 80,000 U.S. hospital deaths occur yearly because of diagnostic errors.
While these statistics are alarming, the good news is that statistics also show that the use of electronic health records (EHRs) should reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by misdiagnosis. An EHR is a comprehensive record of patient information containing medications, vital signs, past medical history, lab reports, imaging data and notes about progress or patient problems. It provides a broad view of a patient’s care and state of total health.
EHRs are used in conjunction with software programs that evaluate information and can help physicians reach a proper diagnosis. A HarvardUniversity study observed one such software program over a three-year period and it lowered mortality rates and shortened patients' hospital stays. Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) are software systems that combine patient data, a medical knowledge base and software that can correlate the data to a specific case and provide medical advice that helps physicians pinpoint a correct diagnosis.
No one should ever suffer from an incorrect diagnosis and when diagnosis procedures do not adhere to accepted medical standards, there may be grounds to bring a medical malpractice case against a Maine medical practitioner.