Experts estimate that each year, as many as 12-million Americans visit an outpatient clinic and are wrongly diagnosed. The high rates of diagnostic errors in outpatient clinics remains unaddressed while health care experts and industry officials continue to focus on hospital-based diagnostic and other medical errors.
According to a new analysis of data from several published studies, primary clinics, doctors’ offices and other outpatient settings account for a large percentage of all diagnostic errors recorded every year. Statistics suggest that as many as 1 in 20 people who visit an outpatient clinic are misdiagnosed.
Misdiagnoses are serious medical errors because, at the very least they increase the risk of delayed treatment. In the worst scenario, they result in fatalities. A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to accurately identify a medical condition. When the patient’s condition is wrongly diagnosed, the wrong treatment may begin and the original condition may be left to worsen.