Most patients rely on doctors or medical professionals to know what is wrong with them and how to treat it. That’s why patients visit the hospital and try to avoid self-diagnosis.

However, there is still a small risk that you receive a diagnosis for your ailment. But how common is misdiagnosis?

The prevalence of misdiagnoses

According to a report from the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, almost 12 million people are affected by medical diagnostic errors in the United States each year – with half of those errors being ‘potentially harmful’ for patients.

These numbers could be skewed due to underreporting and may be utterly different in 2020. It begs the question of what is the healthcare industry doing to reduce the risks of misdiagnosis?

How to tackle diagnoses accurately

The medical community wants to reduce misdiagnoses as much as patients do. That’s why the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) launched the publication Diagnosis in 2014, a peer-reviewed journal that highlights research and articles about addressing diagnostic errors.

The reports cover topics like:

  • Teamwork in the diagnosis process
  • Improving diagnoses education
  • Using health information technology effectively.
  • Establishing more efficient reporting systems
  • Encouraging medical professionals to learn more about identifying and learning from errors

However, this is only the beginning. There need to be more systems in place to help educate and recover from medical mistakes. Hopefully, medical errors decrease as education increases in the healthcare community.

If you are a patient who experienced a potential misdiagnosis, make sure to gather a second opinion from a medical professional and take further action if necessary.