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High volume, missed diagnoses

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Physicians are increasingly complaining that they’re missing things and making the wrong diagnoses because they’re scrambling to  maximize  patient volume to keep the physicians’ income high and  certain payers happy. That American medicine is still dominated by fee for service keeps up the pressure.

American physicians continue to be the highest paid  in the world, and most seem willing to put in the hours to stay that way, though many are cutting back by becoming hospital employees at lower (but still high) incomes and shorter working hours.

Modern Healthcare reports that “While the U.S. patient-safety movement has focused enormous attention on medical errors over the past few decades, diagnostic errors have received less attention from practitioners, the research community or patient-safety advocates. The extent of the problem is hard to assess as missed diagnoses remain a largely unreported phenomenon.”


“One out of every 20 U.S. adults could be misdiagnosed during outpatient visits, and about half of those errors could prove to be harmful, according to recent estimates. ‘


”But local efforts to address the problem at cropping up. For instance,  Maine Medical Center, a part of MaineHealth, in Portland,  has a pilot project in which internal and family medicine, critical-care and emergency-room doctors voluntarily shared examples of diagnostic mistakes to seek ways to avoid similar ones in the future.



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