Cancer Misdiagnoses Surprisingly Common

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , February 7, 2013

In addition, 36% called for "new or improved pathology tools or resources" to help improve diagnostic accuracy rates in cancer cases. That may speak to the need for more "cohesive, precise medical records and record-keeping" among physicians, Falchuk says.

The physicians in the study also called for incentives for hospitals to participate in confidential misdiagnosis data gathering and reporting, perhaps to include it in part of the hospital accreditation process.

Others said that they favor a voluntary misdiagnosis reporting system, and that the National Institutes of Health should study the misdiagnosis issue. Moreover, they say, there should be a greater number of national events and conferences devoted to misdiagnosis.

Years ago, lawmakers and healthcare stakeholders took steps to begin addressing medical errors, and improving patient safety, Falchuk says. But now there's a chance to complete the circle, and to look into misdiagnosis, he says.

The survey findings are an "opening to take firm steps to begin formally measuring and addressing misdiagnosis," he says.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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