Every single day, healthcare facilities across America perform countless diagnostic procedures. These include x-rays, mammograms, CAT scans, and more, but they all have a common goal: to help healthcare workers gain a better understanding of their patients’ conditions.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. While many hospitals and doctor’s offices are outfitted with top-of-the-line diagnostic tools, too often healthcare workers fail to read the results properly. These diagnostic errors can lead to delayed treatment or improper diagnoses — and that mistake can be extremely costly for the patient, the healthcare professional, and the facility where they work.
What is a Diagnostic Error?
Simply put, a diagnostic error is any failure to explain a patient’s health problem in a correct and timely manner. This can mean failing to spot a health issue (failing to notice a mass in a mammogram) or incorrectly diagnosing a problem (naming benign calcification present on a mammogram as cancerous masses).
Unfortunately, diagnostic errors are much more common — and more costly — than you might think. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine reports that diagnostic error is responsible for 40,000-80,000 American deaths every year!
The Risks of Misreading
What happens if one of your physicians misreads a diagnostic machine? If that mistake leads to delayed care, improper treatment, or serious harm to the patient, you might be in for a malpractice lawsuit.
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine also reports that diagnostic errors account for the largest fraction of malpractice claims in the country — and they are awarded the highest total of penalty payouts.
Patients can sue their healthcare providers for misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or delayed diagnosis if that diagnostic error caused them significant harm, and the average payout for a diagnostic error is around $494,000. No facility wants to cause their patients harm (or take on that financial penalty), so it is critical to avoid diagnostic error as much as possible.
How To Prevent Imaging Reading Errors
How can you prevent diagnostic errors in your healthcare facility? The best thing you can do is make sure your workers are not spread too thin. If your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff are overworked and stressed, they’re more likely to make mistakes.
One great way to avoid these errors is to outsource your radiology work to a teleradiology company. Teleradiology companies can alleviate some of the stress on your staff, and having a team of dedicated radiologists on your side can help ensure that every test is read appropriately.
You cannot afford to go with just any teleradiology company. Vesta not only has expert, US Board Certified Radiologists, we offer customized reporting, nighthawk coverage and fast tat (fast turnaround times).
Contact Vesta Teleradiology today to see how our teleradiology services can help your facility avoid errors and provide better patient care.