Accurate diagnosis is the key for treatment of any disease.
Before you start any form of treatment, you need to know what is wrong and the kind of disease you are suffering from, to be sure that you are being treated for the right condition. For instance: If you are getting regular chronic headaches or other symptoms that you suspect could be migraine, it is very important to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis because many conditions that might cause regular chronic headaches like inflammation or other problems with the blood vessels inside around the brain, stroke, infections, intracranial pressure that is either too high or too low, etc.
Proper diagnosis of your symptoms can: Give reassurance that the headaches or other symptoms may not be migraine as you suspected.
A confirmed diagnosis of what causes the headaches or other symptoms is essential to ensure timely and the most effective TREATMENT to avoid further occurrences that may lead to devastating state. The foundation on which effective treatment can be realized is unabridged diagnosis!
As a holistic health company, Vine-Health Paramedic Services takes thorough diagnostic tests very seriously in order to ascertain the root cause of a particular ailment. This is because at Vine-Health, it’s one of our philosophies that regardless of status, occupation, religion, age & gender, no health issue is child’s play! So a physical examination at regular intervals, depending on your age, medical history, etc., is considered very important! In all, we run a complete diagnostic test on our clients and give a comprehensive report of the analyzed results.
We have an assortment of advanced state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment within our reach, with which we carry out the most elaborate of diagnostic test that can only compare to what is obtainable in developed worlds.
“DIAGNOSTIC (TEST) ERROR”
Diagnostic error is one of the most serious problems in healthcare system today. One-third of malpractice cases that results in death or permanent disability come from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
According to a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and appearing in Diagnosis, data confirm that an inaccurate diagnosis is the No. 1 cause of serious medical errors, and 1 in 3 misdiagnoses results in serious injury or death.
WHAT IS DIAGNOSTIC ERROR?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine defined diagnostic error as the failure to establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problems or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient in a way he or she will understand.
World Health Organization defined diagnostic error as when a diagnosis is missed, inappropriately delayed or is wrong. Diagnosis can be completely missed (cancer missed despite symptoms),(patients told they have one diagnosis when there is evidence of another) or delayed (abnormal test result suggestive of cancer, but no one has told the patient).
Let’s put wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis and missed diagnosis altogether.
These categories are overlap, but giving an example will help illustrate some differences:
- Wrong diagnosis for example, happens when a patient who is having a heartburn or chest pain is told that his/her pain is from acid indigestion or ulcer. The right diagnosis is found to be incorrect because the true cause of it is discovered later. This means that what was seen as accurate diagnosis was actually a wrong diagnosis.
- Missed diagnosis: missed diagnosis is refers to a patient whose medical complaints are never well explained. A lot of patients with H-pylori (ulcer), chronic fatigue or chronic pain fall into this category, as well as patients with more specific complaint that are never accurately diagnosed especially patients who always treat malaria and typhoid or infection each time they are sick.
- Delayed diagnosis: delayed diagnosis refers to a case whereby timely diagnosis should have been made to avert worsening condition. Delayed diagnosis of cancer, diabetes and heart related diseases are leading in this category. The major problem in this regards is that many people always wait until symptoms persist or worsen.
Johns Hopkins researchers found that diagnostic errors not surgical mistakes or medication overdoses are the major cause of medical error, malpractice claim and the most severe harm to patients.
“This is more evidence that diagnostic errors could easily be the biggest patient safety and medical malpractice problem in the United States,” says Dr. David E. Newman-Toker M.D, Ph.D, an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published online in BMJ Quality and Safety. “There’s a lot more harm associated with diagnostic errors than we imagined.”
They also found that more diagnostic error claims were rooted in outpatient care than inpatient care, (68.8 percent vs. 31.2 percent) but inpatient diagnostic errors were more likely to be lethal (48.4 percent vs. 36.9 percent). The majority of diagnostic errors were missed diagnoses, rather than delayed or wrong ones.
Newman – Toker noted that among malpractice claims, the number of lethal diagnostic errors was roughly the same as the number that resulted in permanent, severe harm to patients. This suggests that the public health impact of these types of mistakes is probably much greater than previously believed because prior estimates are based on autopsy data, so they only count deaths and not disability, Newman-Toker says.
According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 12 million Americans suffer from wrong diagnosis every year while over 100,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled each year due to diagnostic error that initially missed conditions or are wrong or delayed. Other reports claim that the numbers is as high as 440,000 every year.
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine USA states that Diagnostic error is one of the most important safety problems in health care today, and inflicts the most harm.
Major diagnostic errors are found in 10% to 20% of autopsies, suggesting that 40,000 to 80,000 patients die annually in the U.S. from diagnostic errors.
THE ‘BIG 3’ IN DIAGNOSTIC ERRORS
Johns Hopkins research team reports it has identified three major disease categories – vascular events, infections and cancers – that account for nearly 75 percent of all serious harms from diagnostic errors. “We know that diagnostic errors happen across all areas of medicine. There are over 10,000 diseases, each of which can manifest with a variety of symptoms, so it can be daunting to think about how to even begin tackling diagnostic problems,” says team leader Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence.
“Our findings suggest that the most serious harms can be attributed to a surprisingly number of conditions. The researchers found that diagnostic errors were the most common, most catastrophic and most costly of medical mistakes. Diagnostic errors leading to death or serious permanent disability were associated with misdiagnosed cancers (37.8 percent), vascular events (22.8 percent) and infections (13.5 percent) – categories that the team calls the “big three.”
The authors describe 15 big three conditions that together account for nearly half of all the serious, misdiagnosis-related harms.
The top conditions in each category are stroke, sepsis (a blood infection) and lung cancer, respectively. These are accompanied by heart attack, venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the legs and lungs), aortic aneurysm and dissection (a rupture of the aorta), arterial thromboembolism (a blockage of the blood supply to internal organs), meningitis and encephalitis, spinal infection, pneumonia, endocarditis (a heart infection), and breast, colorectal, prostate and skin cancers.
Based on data claims, the analysis also found that failures of clinical judgment were identified as causes in more than 85 percent of the misdiagnosed cases.
Now, if America can record such high rate of malpractice, disability and deaths due to diagnostic error. What do you think that is happening in Africa especially here in Nigeria?
The fact remains that, the severe consequences of wrong diagnosis are always costlier than the disease itself globally.
The Danger Consequences of Diagnostic Error in Health Care System
Misdiagnosis delays recovery and sometimes call for treatment that is harmful. Base on data approximately 40,500 people who enter an intensive care unit in one year; lose their lives due to wrong diagnosis.
Diagnostic error causes delay in treatment of the actual disease, which may lead to worsening condition.
Wrong diagnosis may lead to taking medications for a disease you don’t have which can cause severe side effects or drug overdose which may lead to life threatening complications even death.
Wrong diagnosis may cause a patient undergo surgery that he or she never needed. Diagnostic error always leads to unnecessary waste of money after wrong treatment and in most cases may leads to worsening condition or life threatening complications.
Misdiagnosis can make patients become confused and distressed when the course of treatment recommended is not working. They may feel it’s a personal failing, and even develop feelings of guilt or shame or even be deceived into believing it is a spiritual attack when they don’t make progress.
Why an Accurate Diagnosis Important?
- Accurate Diagnosis is the Key to Recovery.
- Diagnosis is the basis for any treatment you may receive, from medications to surgery.
- Accurate diagnosis is vital to prevent wasting of money and time on the wrong course of treatment.
- Accurate diagnosis is the foundation for effective treatment.
- Accurate and timely diagnosis will make a patient have the best opportunity for a positive health recovery because clinical decision will be tailored to a correct understanding of the patient’s health condition.
- The importance of accurate diagnosis cannot be underestimated, because diagnostic errors cause delays and mistakes in treatment that can be fatal than we can ever imagine.