Articles Posted in Misread Radiology

Image result for radiologyA new medical course developed by a radiologist aims at training medical students to prevent the kind of medical errors caused by radiology missteps.

The radiologist, Dr. Timothy Mosher of Penn State University says he developed the course after reading a report titled Improving Diagnosis in Health Care which was released in 2015 by the National Academies of Sciences. The report had made special mention of the fact that an increasing number of medical errors, including many fatal ones, can be linked to errors at the diagnostic stage.

The course curriculum focuses on identifying the causes and environments that contribute to an increased risk of a diagnostic error, and techniques that can be used to minimize the incidence of such errors. This is the first time that a course curriculum is being developed especially to expose undergraduate medical students to the potential for diagnostic errors right in their training years, so that they have a better understanding of how these factors can affect their work as they become full-fledged physicians.

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Image result for burned outWorkplace fatigue and burnout is a problem affecting American doctors, and according to a new study, as many as half of all doctors in the country are experiencing symptoms of fatigue that actually increase their risk of medical errors.

The poll was conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, and focused on nearly 6,700 physicians. More than 10% of the doctors in the survey admitted to committing at least one major medical mistake in the three months before the survey. The researchers were also able to confirm that physicians who suffered from symptoms of burnout and fatigue were much more likely to commit serious medical errors.

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x-ray headNew studies find that the use of a safety checklist can help radiologists prevent errors during severe contrast reactions.

The results of the study were published recently in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Contrast reaction management is a particularly error-prone area of radiology,. What make it worse is that the kind of errors that often result during simulated severe contrast reactions can have life-threatening consequences.

For the study, the researchers created a safety checklist that was based on some of the most common errors that occur after a radiologist has administered an IV contrast medium. A group of radiology residents were split into two groups. Each group participated in the simulation severe contrast reaction scenario. The groups were administered written tests, before and after the simulation.

Image result for emergency roomWhen emergency room doctors have a system that allows them to cross check their performances, it can lead to a reduction in medical errors, although not all types of errors.

Those results came from a randomized trial that was conducted in France, and involved a total of six emergency departments. Physicians in each of these departments were made to participate in cross-checks three times a day. During these checks, the physicians were required to present their cases to each other, and get feedback on the same. The results found that during the cross-check period, the rate of medical errors dropped to approximately 6.4% of patients who visited the emergency room, compared to 10.7%, during the non-check period during which patients got the standard care without any physician feedback.

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broken-arm-2117980_1920-169x300Studies report that many as 75% of all medical malpractice lawsuits that claim radiology errors might be linked to cognitive biases by radiologists. Radiologists must be trained about the existence of these biases and be equipped with the skills to deal with them.

For instance, radiologists often suffer from a context-related bias, because they do not have an appropriate clinical or framing context when they’re interpreting an image. This can result in the radiologist making the wrong decision, with possibly serious consequences. Such risks are higher when a patient’s medical history is incomplete.

According to the report, radiologists can get around this problem by ensuring that they have information that is directly supplied by patients, in addition to the clinical histories that they already have at their disposal. That gives them greater context in which they can make an appropriate and correct decision.

mri-782457_1280-300x300When patients have more one-to-one face time with radiologists, it could possibly help them better understand their own results, and have a more proactive and informed role in their own care. Those are the results of a new study from the University Of Michigan Medical School.

The study focused on 1,976 patients of radiology, who were given a questionnaire about their understanding of radiology results. The researchers found that patients very often hoped for more face time with radiologists to help them better understand the results. As many as 84% of the patients in the study expressed interest in meeting with their radiologists in order to discuss the findings of their exams. About 20% were actually willing to pay at least $40 or more to see a radiologist. They were also three times more comfortable when an image was analyzed by a radiologist, than a non-radiologist.

The study also reveals that many patients continue to be uninformed about the various processes in radiology. Up to 10% of the parents incorrectly believed that radiation is used in ultrasound, while 45% believed that magnetic resonance uses radiation. However, the researchers also found that the patient’s knowledge about the processes and systems involved improved markedly when they received educational literature. 

xray_08837The science of radiology plays a critical role in many medical diagnoses. However, when an error creeps into the radiology process, the result is often a delayed diagnosis or worse, a missed diagnosis. In fact, failure to diagnose, or a wrong diagnosis is one of the most serious radiology errors. However, studies also show that failure to communicate is another of the major causes of wrong diagnoses in radiology.

Failure to communicate can include more than just the communication of radiology reports to the physician, but also failures that prevent information from being transmitted to the patient. It is important to maintain the right communication channels so that there is no impediment to the communication of these critical results. Unfortunately, all too often there are discrepancies in the channels that result in communication failures.

For instance, the contact information for the respective doctor may be incorrect, making it difficult to contact the doctor. The doctor may simply be unable or inaccessible, and unable to see the radiology results in time. That could mean a delayed diagnosis, and with every day that a diagnosis is delayed, the patient’s health could worsen. Radiologists may also contribute to these communication hurdles simply by failing to complete documentation in a systematic manner. In fact, one study found that radiology groups very often fail to meet basic results-reporting standards set by the Joint Commission.

Radiology ErrorsDiagnostic errors are some of the most common types of medical errors that can expose patients to harm. Many diagnostic errors are linked to misread radiology or other types of radiology errors. When there are mistakes made when reading or evaluating radiology reports, a patient’s condition may either be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, causing severe trauma and placing the patient at risk of serious injuries.

What are the common types of radiology errors?

Some of the more common types of radiology errors involve misread radiology reports. Radiologists can read many reports in a day and in a busy, city hospital an overworked and over-stressed radiologist can go through dozens of radiology reports in a matter of hours. Naturally, the chance for errors to creep in during the reading of such reports is very high. The radiologist may identify a particular finding in the report as abnormal, but may not attribute it to the right cause. That leads to a wrong diagnosis of the patient.

xray3.jpgIndiana medical malpractice cases involving radiation errors are extremely technical and complicated. One reason is because there isn’t just one way in which a radiation error can occur. With new medical technologies, using radioactive rays to diagnose and treat, and a continued paucity of training and oversight, the types and sources of these errors have increased.

The types of errors have been numerous.
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xray%202.jpgTimothy Plank, the husband of the late Debbie Plank, has authorized his attorneys to file a challenge to Indiana’s long-standing cap on medical malpractice injuries. Indiana’s current medical malpractice law limits awards to $1.25 million. On September 3, 2009, a Marion County jury returned a verdict of $ 8.5 million against Community Hospital of Indianapolis. The Planks alleged that Community Hospital had misplaced an x-ray that showed that Mrs. Plank had a small bowel obstruction.
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