Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Many People Get Wrong Diagnosis

"Why are so many Americans still being misdiagnosed when visiting the doctor?" 

The stats are pretty alarming – at least 15-28% of all medical cases are being misdiagnosed. Possibly a third of the $2.7 billion in wasted health care dollars can be tied to misdiagnosis and wrong treatments.

 Dr. David Harrison says many people are being misdiagnosed because of a fragmented health system. Doctors are time-strapped and just lack of knowledge about this issue, he adds. The needless suffering and wasted health care dollars continue to be a major problem, but it is a problem that can be solved. 

Harrison recommends patients be not accept a questionable diagnosis, but instead they follow five steps below to avoid being misdiagnosed.

1) Don't be shy.  Be curious, and insistent.  Ask your doctor questions about your diagnosis and treatment.  Ask things like, "What else could this be?" Keep asking questions every step of the way until you're satisfied with the answers.

2) Get a second opinion.  But don't show up and tell the next doctor, "I've been diagnosed with this type of illness, what do you think?"  Instead, focus on telling the doctor all of your symptoms.  Don't guide their thinking toward what the first doctor said you have.  As Dr. Jerome Groopman writes in his classic book, "How Doctors Think," "Telling the story again may help the physician register some clue that was, in fact, said the first time but was overlooked or thought unimportant."

3) Take the time to get to know your family medical history – and make sure your doctor knows about it.  Studies show your family history may tell you more about what kinds of illnesses you may have or are likely to get than even genetic testing.  If you search for "My Family Health Portrait" on Google you'll find a handy online tool from the U.S. Surgeon General to assemble your own family medical history.  

4) Take someone with you to doctor's visits.  It's hard to listen to difficult medical news and pay attention to all the details at the same time.  Bring along a friend or family member to remind you of questions you want to ask, and to help you write down important notes.  

5) Have your pathology re-checked.  If you had a biopsy and your diagnosis is based on your pathology report, try to get it reviewed again. Pathology is incorrectly interpreted more often than commonly thought.  If that interpretation is wrong, your diagnosis – and your treatment – are probably going to be wrong, too.

Source:  Best Doctors

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