According to a study published in a peer-reviewed journal, on an annual basis 1 out of 20 patients who go to a hospital are misdiagnosed. This translates to 12 million Americans each year, and it means that misdiagnosis is statistically a bigger problem than drug errors. To reduce the odds that a patient is misdiagnosed, both the doctor and the patient should communicate well with each other. Hospital administrators in Oregon and elsewhere may be able to point doctors toward training programs that may help with their communication skills.
Hospital administrators should conduct regular evaluations from the point of view of the medical staff as well as the point of view of the patient. This allows medical personnel to provide their own feedback as well as create opportunities to help doctors and others improve patient outcomes. Patient feedback can further show hospital staff how they can do a better job interacting with the people who they serve.
Patients should play a role in their own health care whenever possible. Doctors can help by encouraging them to learn and better understand their medical histories. This information should be shared and discussed during each hospital visit to best determine how to proceed when treating a sick or injured person. Hospitals should implement the latest technology to improve the accuracy of a diagnosis. Machines should be changed or upgraded every two years or so to ensure only the best equipment is being used.
A misdiagnosis can lead to a patient being harmed by a worsened medical condition. People who have been in this type of situation may want to meet with an attorney to see if that constituted actionabele medical malpractice.