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Could medical errors one day be a thing of the past?

In many cases, diagnosing the correct illness of people in Pennsylvania can be tricky for doctors. This is, of course, a critical task; a delay in diagnosis, or an incorrect one altogether, could be a critical or fatal medical error. Depending on the illness, timing can be crucial. The sooner a correct diagnosis can be made, the better.

For some illnesses, however, people who are afflicted might not even realize that they need to seek medical treatment. That means that, by the time they get to a hospital or doctor's office to have their condition evaluated, the situation might have progressed to an untenable level.

Devices that are not that far off from being on the marketplace might be able to head off some situations like this. For example, smartphones might be able to monitor a person's vital signs, alerting the person and his or her doctor to a change in heart rate or breathing that might indicate danger.

Aside from getting information and assistance to patients, this kind of technology could be beneficial from a business standpoint. If a patient can be diagnosed and treated without having to come in for an office visit, it could be beneficial for hospitals, doctors and patients alike.

Regardless of the levels of automation in the future when it comes to people being diagnosed, for the forseeable future, there will be a need for doctors to diagnose and treat patients -- which means that the potential for medical malpractice will continue to exist.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Hospital of the future: How the typical hospital will change with technology and shift to patient-centered care," Richard Webner, May 22, 2014

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