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Provider and patient advocates seek to reduce medical malpractice

The prospect of suffering harm from trusted physicians seldom enters the minds of ailing patients. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 80,000 patients die from medical malpractice in the United States every year. To that end, it may benefit South Carolina residents to seek additional information after receiving any diagnosis. 

In an effort to reduce the numbers of misdiagnoses, approximately 40 provider and patient advocates launched a project intended to study the six key areas where the majority of mistakes are made. The 24-month initiative will examine how mistakes occur while attempting to revamp the diagnostic process. Six contributing factors have been identified as the main causes of most misdiagnoses

The first problem is the lack of clear communication between various care providers. When a patient is transferred to the care of another provider, missing information or mistakes in communication can lead to inappropriate care for the patient. Along with this potential problem, both providers and patients lament the brief appointment times that may lead to patients or doctors missing key information.

Another identified problem is lack of feedback to providers when they have made an error or when a diagnosis has been changed. There is also a lack of supporting resources to help physicians or clinicians determine an accurate diagnosis. A fifth contributing factor is the complexity of arriving at an accurate diagnosis, and facilitating clear communication between doctors and patients regarding lab results and other pertinent information.

Lastly, providers cite the lack of research funding to improve the diagnostic process. The two-year project will look for tools to help doctors avoid the dangers of errors and study ways to streamline the diagnosis process. Professionals state it is likely that most patients will receive a misdiagnosis at some point. Sadly, this can lead to a patient suffering greater harm. South Carolina residents who have been a victim of medical malpractice are entitled to seek a just remedy for the monetary damages they may have also sustained.

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