3 Ways Misdiagnosis Affects the Healthcare Industry

Medical misdiagnosis is a problem that affects both patients and healthcare professionals. Doctors and medical professionals are human, too, so errors can happen. Still, they can cause long-term injury to the individual patient and the entire industry. Here are three ways misdiagnosis affects the healthcare industry.

Patient Suffering and Cost

The primary effect of medical misdiagnoses is the consequences suffered by patients. Around 12 million Americans experience a diagnostic error every year, and most American patients will encounter a mistake at least once in their lifetime. Due to misdiagnoses and related complications, approximately 40-80,000 patients prematurely expire each year.

The unnecessary loss of life is the most significant injury, but many patients undergo unnecessary treatments and suffer due to a diagnostic error. Misdiagnoses can mean prolonged stays in hospital facilities, wasting hospital resources, and possibly damaging patients in the long term.

Loss of Patient Confidence

Doctors and healthcare professionals rely on their experience and education to make educated decisions about patients’ health. When medical professionals make mistakes, patients lose their confidence in their doctors and medical treatment in general. It’s common for patients not to trust the future diagnoses of other doctors or avoid seeking medical opinions and treatment altogether after experiencing a diagnostic error.

A medical misdiagnosis can have a ripple effect on the patient and their family. Due to a loss of faith of medical professionals and the industry, some patients will seek self-treatment, leading to further injury. Even with the occasional mistake, it’s always better for patients to seek a professional medical opinion and treatment options instead of attempting to treat themselves or ignore their medical problems altogether.

Financial Industry Cost

Diagnostic errors have an individual impact on the patient and the healthcare industry as well. Recent estimates say that 30% of annual healthcare spending, approximately $750 billion, is wasted on unnecessary services and other treatment inefficiencies resulting from misdiagnoses.

Healthcare facilities are less efficient and productive due to medical misdiagnoses, which leads to wasted resources. It also leads to more insurance claims, so medical practice liability insurance is crucial for many healthcare facilities and providers.

A diagnostic error has many ramifications, both to the individual patient and the healthcare industry. There are many ways misdiagnosis affects the healthcare industry, but the primary injuries are to the patients and their families and the healthcare professionals who waste resources and time due to error.

How Nurse Practitioners Can Avoid Malpractice Lawsuits

There’s no doubt that it’s been a challenging couple of years for everyone in the healthcare industry, and the trend is likely to continue in the near future. With hospitals at capacity and nursing staffs low on personnel, malpractice litigation can pose a problem for many nurses. To help, we’ve collected the best advice on how nurse practitioners can avoid malpractice lawsuits.

Foster a Positive Relationship With Your Patient

The most important advice we can offer to nurse practitioners for avoiding litigation is to foster a positive relationship with their patients. We understand that it’s challenging to be a nurse in overcrowded hospitals, but taking time to be present and positive with your patients will pay dividends. Mistakes generally happen from nurses trying to rush services and procedures, so remember to take your time and be there for your patient.

Don’t Be Rude

There’s an old saying from lawyers that if you don’t want to get sued, don’t be rude. Nursing is a demanding job, and when you’re at the end of a long shift, it can be easy to be curt to a patient. However, it’s always better to stay positive in the long term.

Document Thoroughly

There’s a reason there’s so much documentation in healthcare, and it’s there to not only help you in providing the best care for your patient but to protect you in future litigation. Be sure to follow all documenting procedures and protocols as it keeps everyone on the same page, from nurses to doctors to patients.

The documentation shows all the methods, observations, tests, and results of a patient under your care and can be crucial in future legal proceedings. Also, if your patient and their friends or family have questions or concerns about treatment, you can refer to their documentation, where everything they need to know will already be there.

Stick To Facts Only

It’s common for patients to ask nurses for their opinion on their status or treatment. Even if you have plenty of experience and are 99% sure that your opinion is correct, don’t speculate and be sure to only stick to the facts. Speculation can lead to confusion which can lead to frustration and litigation. Let the tests and results speak for you instead.

Those are just some of the strategies on how nurse practitioners can avoid malpractice lawsuits, but there are plenty more. Professional liability insurance for nurse practitioners can help in the case of a malpractice lawsuit, but the best strategy is always to do what you can to avoid them altogether. The critical thing for nurses to remember is that a positive relationship with their patients is worth the time and energy and helps prevent future problems.