Misdiagnoses Common (Per WSJ)

Tom Emerick

Posted 1/17/12 on Cracking Health Costs

Good article in the WSJ by Laura Landro called “What if the Doctor Is Wrong”, corroborates what I’ve been saying all along.  A large number of patients are seriously misdiagnosed.  Click here to read the article.

As with my last post about USA Today covering how most of the money in a health plans is spent by very few members, I’m very pleased the WSJ is covering the serious problem with how large numbers of patients are diagnosed, or should I saymisdaignosed.

Per Landro’s story: “Evidence is mounting that second opinions—particularly on radiology images and pathology slides from biopsies—can lead to significant changes in a patient’s diagnosis or in recommendations for treating a disease. Some malignancies, including lymphomas and rare cancers of the thyroid and salivary glands, are notoriously tricky to diagnose correctly; test results can be inconclusive or return false results.”

As many as 25% of patients with some kinds of cancer have been misdiagnosed. (I believe the number is actually higher than that.)  Moreover, “After a decade of annual mammograms, more than half of women will receive at least one false positive recall on a breast-cancer screening, a recent study found.”

This is a train wreck occurring in slow motion.  Benefit executives take note.  Your plans are wasting huge dollars paying for wasteful treatments caused by bad diagnoses.  The time for action is now.

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