Poll: One in six doctors admits to making diagnostic errors daily

When we go to an Ohio physician with a medical issue, we expect them to properly diagnose our condition, order the right tests and recommend the best possible course of treatment. If we choose to consent to the treatment, the physician and other medical professionals are responsible for administering the treatment in accordance with the applicable standard of care.

Failure to properly diagnose a patient can be a form of medical malpractice. However, according to a recent poll by Medscape, many doctors, nurses and physician assistants say they make diagnostic errors on a daily basis.

The Medscape poll was conducted to find out how often medical professionals estimate making diagnostic errors, after a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that doctors make diagnostic errors more often than they think they do. The Medscape poll results show that one in six doctors believe they make diagnostic errors every day. Out of the doctors surveyed, doctors in emergency medicine were the most likely to say they made a diagnostic error daily, while pediatricians were the least likely. The poll results also revealed that 17 percent of registered nurses, 17 percent of advanced practice registered nurses and 17 percent of physician assistants admitted to making daily diagnosing errors.

However, researchers at Johns Hopkins note a difference between diagnostic uncertainty and diagnostic error. Based on a Johns Hopkins survey, half of doctors report daily diagnostic uncertainty, but previous statistics have reported that only 10 to 15 percent of interactions with patients result in the wrong diagnosis.

According to the doctors and physicians polled, there are a few reasons why diagnostic errors occur. Many say that time constraints, lack of feedback on the accuracy of a diagnosis and a culture that does not encourage disclosure of errors all play a role in these diagnostic errors. Whatever the reason for the error, diagnosing a patient with the wrong condition or failing to order the right tests and/or take appropriate next steps, can be the difference between life and death. If you are the victim of a physician's misdiagnosis, you may be able to recover damages for the additional harm caused to you.

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