Far too many radiology errors are resulting in wrong diagnoses and unnecessary surgeries. Forbes magazine recently reported on the high cost of such unnecessary surgeries, not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of the human suffering involved in these unwarranted surgeries.
According to the report, the error rates from x-rays and other minor exams can be about 3 percent. But when it comes to more complex scans like CT scans and MRI scans, the error rates jump to as high as 30 percent.
The report also outlines the common factors that influence these radiology errors, and how these can be managed in order to prevent wrong diagnoses and unnecessary surgeries.
Many diagnostic errors result from the radiologist’s cognitive bias or errors. These are due to psychological distortions that can cause lapses in judgement, resulting in wrong diagnoses. Diagnostic errors are also the result of the system’s failure to make the practice of radiology less stressful. Radiologists typically have huge case loads, repetitive work, and unnatural shifts and timings that can affect their ability to interpret scans and test results accurately. Distractions in the form of cell phones and other technologies can also affect diagnostic accuracy,
Physical exhaustion, eye strain as a result of staring at radiographic images for long periods of time, and poor motivation levels can also contribute to accuracy levels. Radiologists are also often required to make quick decisions, which can also increase the stress and pressure on them. Decision fatigue can set in, and this is when the risk of an error is highest. Wrong judgment calls are made when the mind is numbed from repetitive reading of scans, and motivation levels are low.
Management of workloads in order to reduce the risk of burnout, greater and more efficient use of artificial intelligence in order to reduce pressure on radiologists, and follow up of diagnostic recommendations can also help reduce the risk of these errors and keep patients safer.
The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Miller represent persons injured as a result of medical errors in the Indianapolis region and across Indiana. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as the result of medical negligence or a medical error, discuss your legal rights to a claim with a lawyer at our firm.