It happened to Lady Gaga and Sharon Stone and Occurs Every Year to 12 million Americans: Misdiagnosis.

It happened to Lady Gaga and Sharon Stone and Occurs Every Year to 12 million Americans: Misdiagnosis.
The only two certainties in life are death and taxes, but receiving a misdiagnosis for a medical condition takes things to a whole new level of misery. With a staggering 12 million misdiagnoses annually in the US, that’s a sobering 5% of all medical diagnoses.

CONFESSIONS OF A BENEFITS BROKER XI

The only two certainties in life are death and taxes, but receiving a misdiagnosis for a medical condition takes things to a whole new level of misery. With a staggering 12 million misdiagnoses annually in the US, that’s a sobering 5% of all medical diagnoses. Don’t fall victim to a flawed medical system, take control and make sure you get the proper care you deserve, make informed decisions and access the medical care you need with confidence.

The list for causes of misdiagnoses is endless. Here are some common ones:

˃ Lack of access to specialists.˃ Inadequate communication among healthcare providers.˃ Overreliance on tests & technology:  telehealth systems and/or overreliance on imaging and labtests; especially when these tests are not interpreted correctly or by a specialist.

THERE IS EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT CERTAIN RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS MAY BE AT A HIGHER RISK FOR MISDIAGNOSIS. 

˃ African American women are more likely to be misdiagnosed with breast cancer compared to white women.˃ Black men are more likely to be misdiagnosed with prostate cancer compared to white men.˃ African Americans and Latino populations may be more likely to be misdiagnosed with hypertension and diabetes. 

HERE IT COMES, AS YOU KNEW IT WOULD, COGNITIVE BIASES ON WOMEN#@$%!

It’s difficult to provide a specific percentage of how often women are misdiagnosed compared to men. However, there is evidence to suggest that women may be more likely to be misdiagnosed with certain conditions. Studies have shown that women are more likely to be misdiagnosed with heart attacks because their symptoms can be different from men’s symptoms and may be mistaken for other conditions such as panic attack or indigestion. Research also suggests that women are more likely to be misdiagnosed with certain mental health conditions because symptoms are often dismissed as being caused by emotional or hormonal factors.

THERE ARE MANY CONDITIONS THAT ARE COMMONLY MISDIAGNOSED, BUT SOME OF THE MOSTFREQUENTLY MISDIAGNOSED CONDITIONS INCLUDE:

˃ Cancer: Breast cancer and lung cancer are among the most misdiagnosed types of cancer.˃ Heart attack: Symptoms of a heart attack can be similar to those of other conditions, such as indigestion or a panic attack, leading to misdiagnosis.˃ Stroke: Misdiagnosis of stroke can lead to delayed treatment and increased risk of permanent disability or death.˃ Lyme disease: This bacterial infection caused by tick bites can be misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.˃ Depression and anxiety: These mental health conditions can be difficult to diagnose, and symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions, such as physical illnesses or side effects of medication.˃ Multiple sclerosis (MS): MS is a chronic neurological condition that can be misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or stress-related conditions.˃Lupus: This chronic autoimmune disease can be misdiagnosed because its symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

HEALTHCARE ADVOCACY : BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR HEALTHCARE JOURNEY TO MAXIMIZE POSITIVE OUTCOME.NOBODY, NOBODY KNOWS YOUR BODY BETTER THAN YOU!

˃Preparing for medical appointments: Write down any symptoms, medications, and supplements you are taking, as well as any questions you have for the doctor.˃Bring someone with you: Having a friend or family member accompany you to medical appointments can help ensure that important information is not missed or forgotten.˃Provide a complete medical history: It is important to give your doctor a complete medical history, including any previous diagnoses, treatments, and allergies.˃Provide copies of medical records: Bring copies of your medical records, including lab test results, imaging studies, and other relevant information to each appointment.˃Research the condition: Educating yourself about the condition and treatment options can help you communicate better with your healthcare provider˃Important: One way to get the doctor to question or justify their own assessment: Ask the Doctor, “Given your depth of experience what else could this be, what other conditions have overlapping or similar diagnosis?”˃Bring your medical records from the other service providers to the appointment. You would be shocked to learn how archaic the medical recording system is; sometimes there is little to none interoperability between medical providers, and yes some are still faxing.

GET THEIR NO! IN WRITING (YOU READ THAT RIGHT!)

If there is an incremental test that can be done that either confirms the doctor’s diagnosis or potential misdiagnosis. Ask for the test! Don’t back down when your medical provider disagrees or brushes off the additional test. Demand a written response if your medical provider denies a test you believe is necessary. Having a documented trail can serve as evidence if the doctor’s diagnosis turns out to be incorrect and may also prompt the doctor to reconsider or seek a second opinion.

HIRE A HEALTHCARE PATIENT ADVOCATE  (HPA)

Healthcare advocacy offers valuable support for navigating the ridiculous complexities of the healthcare system. The key points of this support include:

˃Navigation through the system: Advocates can assist with navigating the various processes and procedures involved in accessing medical care, such as finding a doctor, scheduling appointments, and securing insurance coverage.˃Representation of rights: Advocates can serve as an advocate for your rights, advocating on your behalf to ensure that you receive the care you need and deserve.˃Medical billing support: Advocates can review, reduce, or negotiate medical bills to help lower costs and minimize financial stress.˃Non-medical services: Advocates may come from various backgrounds, including clinical professionals like nurses or physicians, but their services may still be non-medical in nature.˃Clarifying services offered: It’s important to confirm the specific services offered by an advocate to ensure that you receive the type of support you need, whether it’s assistance with medical billing or representation in navigating the healthcare system.

By taking advantage of healthcare advocacy services, you can receive the support you need to make informed decisions and access the medical care you need with confidence.  You can research HPA’s at  https://advoconnection.com. The fees can be few hundred dollars an hour, with some free services from https://www.patientadvocate.org/. Please conduct your own due diligence, there is no formal licensing for HPA’s.

SEEK A SECOND OPINION

There are several ways to go about getting a second opinion. One common method is to ask your primary care physician or specialist for a referral to another doctor. There are also some organizations and resources that can help patients find and connect with specialists for a second opinion. PAF Patient Advocate Foundation: https://www.patientadvocate.org/cardio-it-matters-sheets/second-opinions/ 

It is important to note that getting a second opinion does not mean that the first opinion was wrong, it is just a way to make sure that you get the best treatment possible and that you feel comfortable with your decision. It’s also worth mentioning that getting a second opinion can take time and can be costly, so it’s always good to check with your insurance company if they cover the cost of a second opinion before seeking one.

HERE ARE A FEW SOURCES FOR 2ND OPINION(No warranty of their services is implied, please conduct your own due diligence)

˃Stanford Medicine Second Opinion Program  https://stanfordhealthcare.org/second-opinion/overview.html˃UCSF Second Opinion Program  https://www.ucsfhealth.org/second-opinion˃Cleveland Clinic Virtual Second Opinion  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/online-services/virtual-second-opinions˃Virtual Second Opinions  https://www.2nd.md/˃Second Opinions  https://www.secondopinions.com/

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References:

˃A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2016, estimated that 12 million adults (5% of the U.S. population) are misdiagnosed each year. “Diagnostic Error in Medicine” by Hardeep Singh, M.D., M.P.H. and Kenneth W. Mandl, M.D., M.P.H. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2016, Volume 31, Issue 2, Pages 191–193

˃A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2019, estimated that approximately 5% of adults who seek outpatient care experience a diagnostic error. “Diagnostic Error in Medicine” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (US) Committee on Diagn Error in Health Care; Kohn LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS, editors. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019.

˃A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015, found that 28% of diagnostic errors in primary care were serious enough to cause harm, and that 6.9% of errors resulted in permanent harm or death. “Frequency of Diagnostic Error in Primary Care” by Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, and Kenneth W. Mandl, MD, MPH. JAMA. 2015;314(15):1591-1600. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.13485

˃A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2011, found that 44% of women who had heart attacks had been misdiagnosed at least once before their correct diagnosis. “Misdiagnosis of Acute Cardiac Ischemia in Women” by C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, Journal of Women’s Health. 2011;20(9):1417-1424. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2400

˃A study published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013, found that diagnostic errors accounted for 17% of all adverse events in hospital. “Diagnostic error in medicine: analysis of 583 physician-reported errors” by J.B. Metlay, L.C. Fineberg, J.S. Bader, Journal of Patient Safety. 2013;9(3):122-128. doi:10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182948a69

˃A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2016, found that diagnostic errors were more common in primary care than in specialty care, with rates of diagnostic error of 11.1% and 5.2%, respectively. “Diagnostic Error in Primary Care and Specialty Care Outpatient Settings” by Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, and Kenneth W. Mandl, MD, MPH. J Gen Intern Med. 2016;31(2):191-193. doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3463-1

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