One in 20 Patients Misdiagnosed in America

A new study suggests that 12 million Americans receiving outpatient care are misdiagnosed every year, with a significant number of the misdiagnoses harming the patients.

The findings are being reported in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

Researchers estimate 5 percent misdiagnosis rate

Since actual figures of misdiagnoses don't exist, Texas researchers took data from three separate studies to create a pool of 3,000 medical records. From those records, they were able to ascertain a misdiagnosis rate of about 5 percent which, when extrapolated across all adults in the United States, totals about 12 million misdiagnoses annually.

"Not all misdiagnoses lead to any severe harm, but many do," Dr. Hardeep Singh, the study's lead author and a patient safety researcher at Baylor College of Medicine the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, both in Houston, told Reuters. "We can extrapolate that almost half of these could cause some amount of severe patient harm.

"Measuring the problem is the first step to actually trying to fix it."

Source: Reuters

Photo by Chance Agrella

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