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Communication can help prevent a wrong diagnosis

One of the biggest problems in a medical setting is a wrong diagnosis. Some experts say that this is something the vast majority of people will experience at least one time over the course of their lives. The diagnosis will either be entirely wrong or it will be significantly delayed.

So, how big of a problem is it? It's been traced back to an entire 10 percent of all of the deaths in hospitals across the United States. It causes as many as 17 percent of all of the adverse events that take place.

The reason a wrong diagnosis is likely to happen to everyone at some point is simply that people see the doctor so often. The stats show that about five percent of Americans during the year get an improper diagnosis. Therefore, people would only have to visit a doctor 20 times—over the course of their entire lives—to be nearly statistically guaranteed to get a wrong diagnosis on one of those visits.

The biggest issue, according to some medical professionals, is just a lack of streamlined communication. The exchange of information can be confusing and complex. An error at any stage can lead to a wrong diagnosis, so this is usually a team effort between primary care doctors, labs, specialists, and more.

Doctors stress that good, trustworthy communication at every step in the process has to be the overall focus if doctors are to avoid these mistakes that so often cause injuries and take lives.

Those who have been negatively impacted by a wrong diagnosis—or a delayed diagnosis—need to know what rights they have in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: Forbes, "Report: Doctors Are Screwing Up Diagnoses -- And Patients Should Speak Out," Arlene Weintraub, accessed Nov. 25, 2015

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