The Anonymous Widower

Medical Misdiagnosis

According to Professor Graham Neale at Imperial College, about 15% of conditions are misdiagnosed by the NHS.  15% is not one in six as the Times states.  It’s actually nearer one in seven!

I heard him on Radio 5 last night and he was saying that this is one of the biggest problems facing health systems around the world.

Too right it is!

Let’s assume that we can cut this level by ten percent.  On a straight economic case, it should cut the health care bill by at least one percent.  So getting to grips with this is a major challenge that will bring enormous benefits.

The Times talks of one possible IT-based solution.

The NHS in Scotland has launched a pilot project where computer software with a diagnosis checklist is installed in GP surgeries to prevent errors. The programme, involving 25 GP surgeries, uses a commercial company called Bluebay, that gives doctors access to written information on how best to treat certain conditions.

I must admit, that I do have a special interest and knowledge of misdiagnosis. As I am a coeliac, and moderate a group on the Internet about it, I’ve come across quite a few who have been misdiagnosed for years.

But then you can see the problem, if like me you have bad skin, joint pains, severe dandruff, gallstones, mild depression and migraines, would you have thought that the problem was a gluten-intolerance?

The other problem is that there is no record of diagnosis.  To me as someone who analyses data for a living, it is a goldmine, that could give a rich vein of results.  Doctors always state reasons why this should not happen.  But then pilots have had an anonymous reporting system for years.  No-one ever complains about that!

We do not need major changes to get a decent increase in efficiency.  We just need doctors and other health professionals to make the best use of the information that could be readily available.

And judging what I said earlier on saying sorry, they could learn from that too!

September 22, 2009 - Posted by | Health, News | ,

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