Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety Concludes that Rushing Doctors during Consultation Increases Chances of Misdiagnosis

by | Last updated Jul 3, 2023 | Published on Dec 27, 2013 | Healthcare News

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Doctors can make mistakes, especially when they’re rushed. A March 2013 study by Dr. Hardeep Singh representing Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety arrived at this conclusion based on a study of 68 such cases in primary-care settings.

Failed or Missed Diagnosis of Serious Ailments

The research also reveals that most common misdiagnoses related to serious diseases such as cancer, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, congestive heart failure and acute renal failure. Medical mistakes could have long-lasting implications for the health of the patient and even prove fatal.

Incidence of Misdiagnoses Higher in Doctors’ Offices

The research also revealed that there were more misdiagnoses happening in doctors’ offices than in hospitals. But just why do doctors make mistakes and put the lives they are entrusted with on the line? Are they reckless and unmindful of the value of a human life? These are questions that most people ask. Dr. Singh’s study puts the problem down as physician work overload, wrong lab test results, and the patient’s inability to convey the right information or failure to keep appointments.

Most practices are busy places with heavy patient loads. If processes such as medical billing, medical coding are handled in-house, it would add to the challenge. In fact, the study found that doctors in their office practices often forgot or missed important steps that could have averted emergencies. Moreover, busy doctors could err in recording medical history and even fail to properly examine patients – both important reasons for many errors.

A study by Dr. David E. Newman-Toker representing Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore reported that up to 160,000 hospitalized patients die or suffer permanent or major injury owing to misdiagnosis, or delayed understanding of the misdiagnosis and subsequent correction.

Outsourcing Could Help Ensure Efficiency

Things change for the better when non-core tasks are outsourced. Primary among these are medical billing and coding tasks. Efficient billing and coding are vital for prompt payments from insurance providers. Outsourcing these to professional coders would give physicians the needed breathing space and relieve them of worries about revenue cycle management. All this would contribute to making the lives of patients better thanks to physician focus on effective diagnosis and treatment.

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