Doctor states more tests will not help avoid such a problem
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/26/2013 -- According to new data collected, diagnostic errors, and not surgical, obstetrical, or medication mistakes are the leading causes of successful malpractice claims. Still, it seems clear very in the BMJ Quality & Safety report that little is being done in order to identify and correct the errors.
Johns Hopkins University researchers examined 25 years worth of malpractice statistics from the National Practitioner Data Bank, and looked at 350,000 allegations of malpractice from 1986 up until 2010 which lead to payouts.
The new study foundation diagnostic errors, which are defined as missed, erroneous, or delayed diagnoses, accounted for nearly 30% of all successful claims.
Treatment inaccuracies accounted for 27% of those errors. Surgical mishaps 24%, while obstetrical problems was 7%. Medication errors and anesthesia complication comprised less than 10% combined.
The study also noted that nearly 40% of diagnosis-related claims resulted in death of the patient. Diagnostic error made up just over a third of total payment, which constituted $38.8 billion with adjusted inflation.
David Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and the study's lead author, said, "Overall, diagnostic errors have been underappreciated and under-recognized because they're difficult to measure and keep track of owing to the frequent gap between the time the error occurs and when it's detected"
While some hospital require a report on certain quality measures, diagnostic errors are not reported or measured as a whole. Newman-Token argued that more testing would not resolve the underlying problem. He noted a 40% tally of emergency department patients complain of dizziness during CT scan, which costs over $500 million and is typically “useless” in determining the overall cause.
Nevertheless, the fear of malpractice suits will be a major propellant in the “defensive medicine” push, according to the study.
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