Many medical errors occur due to diagnosis issues. A common one is delayed diagnosis, and it happens with numerous medical conditions, including those related to the spine.
Due to the harm to patients and the related medical costs, finding solutions to this problem is a priority for many doctors, and there are some options for medical professionals.
Diagnosis delay and spinal issues
According to MedPage Today, a spinal condition that is commonly a victim of delayed diagnosis is axial spondyloarthritis. One reason for the delay is that it develops slowly and has few, if any, subtle symptoms. A patient typically sees numerous medical providers before someone comes up with the diagnosis. Meanwhile, the patient undergoes invasive and unnecessary diagnostic testing. The results of this are irreversible spinal damage and low quality of life.
There are certain risk factors that tend to contribute to delayed diagnoses. These include females, symptom onset at an early age, larger number of providers previously seen and the presence of severe inflammation of the toes and fingers.
Proposed solutions for delayed diagnoses
According to the National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study identified some of the issues that result in delayed diagnoses and some proposed solutions. The most common problems are that the availability of good medical care varies inversely with the medical needs of patients and that there is not good or clear communication between primary and secondary providers.
Some solutions that clinicians propose include:
- Better communication between providers and with patients
- Improved system to discuss abnormal findings with patients
- Improved training of primary doctors in certain areas
- Discussion hotlines so primary care providers and specialists can talk about cases
These solutions may help prevent more cases of delayed diagnoses without healthcare facilities investing a lot of money.