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.