Why Do Medical Diagnostic Errors still occur ?

April 5th, 2018 - By Chris Ferguson

Medical errors can be described from a variety of angles to include a missed diagnosis, an erroneous diagnosis or even a diagnosis that is made too late. Can these errors be mitigated by using the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technology? How can an Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) softwareElectronic Healthcare Records (EHR) software package help to determine a possible diagnosis of efficient and thorough patient medical history and documentation?

The importance of patient medical history and family history is an excellent place to start. This doctor and patient relationship can play an important role in the development of trust. The EHR will capture the patient’s medical history and provide insight into possible past, current, or future medical diagnosis. While some patient symptoms can seem routine and easily treated, this may not be the case. Medical tests and lab work can now be a direct link between the practice and the diagnostic center can prevent human errors with this discrete data interchange.

Recent history demonstrates that as many as ten percents of medical errors can be traced back to the initial diagnosis. Medical technology can aide diagnostics but not prevent outcome errors. Many medical providers rely on their own education, experience, and peer consultation. This technology is used to assist by providing the most relevant data and a possible path to patient recovery.

Can Big Data Save the Day?

When will Artificial Intelligence and Big Data intersect with human biology? The technology is at hand; however, the medical ethics discussion is ongoing. When does the provider’s obligation to disclose one possibility of diagnosis and the patient or the patient’s family right to know or need to know? Unfortunately, artificial intelligence and big data will not become the mainstay until we have a conclusive plan on diagnostic disclosure and a patient’s desire.

Can a DNA Scrape be the ultimate key to unlock the patient’s prospective lifetime list of medical diagnosis and possible behavioral path? Would you really like to know your DNA to that level? What if this detail were to slip into the wrong hands and used in a derogatory way with different insurance coverages and mental crisis if too much information is known?

Would it be medically ethical to require a DNA scrape before visiting a medical provider? What if a patient declines? How should a prover address this? If a patient were to offer up a DNA sample and the results demonstrate a high probability of detrimental or possible life-threatening diagnosis such as heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s – Do medical providers have an obligation to disclose? If not disclosed what liability does a medical provider carry for not telling the patient? When do patients’ rights come into play? DNA samples can provide a possible future diagnosis. What can be gathered by this detailed information, is the data a possibility or probability?

Medical clinics use a detailed medical history and family history questionnaire prior to being seen by the provider. Are providers relying on the patient’s memory, knowledge, or honesty when filling out the form? What if a patient simply does not know any family history due to individual family circumstances like adoption?

Should medical providers begin requiring a sample of DNA before making a diagnosis? Do providers hold liability for possible misdiagnosis if the patient withheld personal or family medical history?

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