Whether getting a routine screening, such as a mammogram, or undergoing an ultrasound to investigate a specific set of symptoms, people in New York deserve to know that their test results will be accurately read. This is an integral component to ensuring a diagnosis, if necessary, is accurate and made in a timely manner. This, in turn, ensures that the right treatment can be commenced as promptly as possible.
A new report issued by the insurer Coverys indicates that this sequence of events fails to happen all too often. As explained by Radiology Business, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer were among the top diseases that were subject to misread test results over a five-year period. The study reviewed 10,000 medical malpractice claims involving diagnostic errors from 2013 through 2017.
Eight out of 10 cases involved a test result being inaccurately read. Radiologists themselves were involved in 15 percent of the claims. Out of all diagnostic errors, patients either experienced permanent injuries or died in eight out of 10 cases. These numbers point to a serious gap in the reliability of test information and put patients at a serious risk.
The report did include some recommendations to improve accuracy. These included the use of checklists and standard reporting templates. These templates may also have a way to separate incidental findings from primary results so that the most important data is not lost in the shuffle of too much other data. It was also recommended that language used in reports be simplified to eliminate the potential for misunderstandings.