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.

About Brian Klepper

Brian Klepper is a health care analyst, commentator and a Principal in Health Value Direct.
This entry was posted in Analytics, Benefits, Consumerism, Imaging, Medical Management, Physicians, Quality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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