Texas researchers estimate that there are about 12 million misdiagnosed patients in the U.S., according to a report by Reuters. Additionally, half of the estimated misdiagnoses could lead to serious harm.
The exact number of medical errors committed by doctors in outpatient care has never been recorded.
With the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, safety improvements focus mainly on inpatient care, not outpatient care.
What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient care?
Inpatient care is for people admitted to a hospital to receive medical treatment. Outpatient care is for a person that receives medical treatment at a doctor’s office and is then able to go home. The difference between inpatient and outpatient care is important because it can affect how much you will end up paying for medical care (inpatient care is generally more expensive than outpatient care).
In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Hardeep Singh, the lead author of the study, says hopefully this estimation will direct more attention to the safety of patients in outpatient care. He added that this study shows that too many people are hurt by doctors’ misdiagnosing their patients.
When a patient is misdiagnosed, it means they receive unnecessary treatments or delayed treatments for actual ailments.
The study reports that 80 percent of all adults in the U.S. receive outpatient care. With so many people receiving outpatient care, doctors’ should be held responsible for carelessly misdiagnosing a patient.
Unfortunately, the researchers noted that faulty medical records and other flaws in the data mean that there could be more than 12 million misdiagnosed patients.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney