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In our previous post, our blog discussed a study highlighting the altogether grave threat posed by physician misdiagnoses, which accounted for roughly 35 percent of all medical malpractice claims filed in the U.S. over the last 25 years and roughly $39 billion in payouts to injured patients and their families.
This study, performed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, also found that the majority of diagnostic errors occurred in outpatient facilities such as clinics or doctors’ offices.
Why then are diagnostic errors so much more likely to occur in these familiar environments?
According to experts, the answer may have something to do with communication or, perhaps more accurately, the lack thereof.
These experts indicate that many physicians are simply neglecting to take the time to have constructive dialogues with patients. This means physicians are not learning everything they can about patients’ symptoms, and they are failing to explain complex information in a thorough manner. This is significant, the experts argue, because previous studies have repeatedly shown that a large percentage of patients either forget important medical information or remember it incorrectly.
Interestingly, different solutions have been implemented to address this pressing problem, including:
It’s truly unbelievable to think that some physicians are simply neglecting to set aside a few extra minutes to talk with their patients and answer their questions. This simple step could save lives and spare families from unnecessary grief.
Source: AARP, “Just listen: Teaching Doctors to pay attention,” Candy Sagon, April 29, 2013