12 Tips to Prevent Misdiagnosis; Increase Understanding for Best Health Outcomes

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Martine Ehrenclou's picture
Martine Ehrenclou
Title: LumiGRATE Poster - Frequently
Joined: Aug 15 2011
Posts: 20
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.

A misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional inaccurately comes to a conclusion about what is wrong with the patient. About one in twenty in-patient hospital deaths are attributed to misdiagnosed illness. In or outside of the hospital, about one in six of us throughout our life time, will be subjected to a misdiagnosis by a medical professional.

Why Misdiagnosis Occurs

There are several reasons misdiagnoses can occur. They include the following:

  1. "Premature closure"--a failure on the part of the medical professional to consider all possible diagnoses.
  2. Specialists see only their specialty and not the whole patient.
  3. When lab test results are not ordered or test results are not followed up on.
  4.  When patients see several different health care providers who do not communicate with one another.
  5.  When patients do not provide a complete health summary and medical history. 
  6. Poor communication between doctors/their staff and patients.

12 Tips To Help Prevent Misdiagnoses

  1. Come prepared to the doctor visit with a health summary, copies of pertinent medical records, list of medications and their dosages, over-the counter medications, herbs and supplements, allergies to medications and more. Be prepared to present a packet of information to each and every doctor you see. This also prevents the problem of misplaced, lost or inaccurate medical records.
  2. Come prepared with a list of questions.
  3. Ask for a diagnosis from your doctor. Ask why it is suspected.
  4. Ask your doctor if there are any other possible diagnoses for what you have.
  5. Enlist a family member or good friend to be your advocate. (S)he will be your second set of eyes and ears. Ask her/him to take notes on conversations with physicians, whether you are in a doctor's office or in the hospital.
  6. Create a list of all your symptoms. If you are in the hospital, ask your advocate to help you with this. Record the time of day your symptoms occur and what makes them better or worse. List what you have tried to make the symptoms better.
  7. Follow up on your test results. If you are in the hospital or seeing a medical professional in an office, ask for your test results and for a copy. If a copy isn't available at that time, ask your advocate to write down what the results mean.
  8. Research your condition or diagnostic tests online and/or at your local library. If you are in the hospital, ask your advocate to do this for you. Your hospital may have a library with information.
  9. Research your diagnosis. If you are uncertain about it, create a list of questions and make a time to talk to your doctor.
  10. Get a second opinion. If you are unconvinced about the diagnosis you are given or simply are not getting better, find another doctor to give you a second opinion, preferably one who is board certified in her specialty, and who is affiliated with a respected medical school.
  11. Ask for lab tests to be repeated. Doctors can make mistakes, as can radiologists, pathologists or other lab technicians.
  12. Speak up. Ask questions. Be assertive. Many of us are nervous or anxious when talking with our doctors or other medical professionals.

Remember that you know your body best, and the more information you gather and contribute, the more confident you will feel.

__________________

I'm an author, patient advocate and speaker. My new book, The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care, was released 5/2012 www.TheTakeChargePatient.com I lecture, write and publish articles on the issues of patient safety, patient advocacy, the collaborative relationship between patients and medical professionals, effective communication strategies to interact with medical professionals and other health/medical related issues. I hope you benefit and enjoy my being part of things at Lumigrate as much as I do! Also, I am a member of: -HHS, Partnership for Patients -The Society of Participatory Medicine -The National Patient Advocate Foundation -National Healthcare Advocacy Consultants

Mardy Ross's picture
Mardy Ross
Title: LumiGRATE Poster - Top of the Totem Pole
Joined: Feb 16 2009
Posts: 1933
User offline. Last seen 11 hours 40 min ago.
YOU on Lumigrate; and how I forsee this being used, Martine !

 Martine, thank YOU for this wonderful contribution! 

I completely concur and agree with all you say, above.  I've posted the Lumigrate You Model here to remind everyone of the concept that Lumigrate was founded upon, based on my experiences working as an occupational therapist since the mid 1990s and helping them embrace 'the occupation of health care' (anything that occupies time is an occupation, 'vocation' is how one makes their money/living).  I had complex health issues develop around that time as well and, despite being an 'insider' related to knowledge about the medical industry, I ended up struggling for many years before finding solutions which had to do with functional medicine (finding and solving underlying reasons) through an integrative approach.  

The Lumigrate logo's ribbons are representative of the weaving of 'integration' or "bringing together".  Your tips and lists above completely reflect this type of thinking and naturally are very synergistic.  So again, THANK YOU, and I hope every one of our customers / users finds this piece AND tells others about it/prints it/shares the link, etc.  

Related to your closing comment, not only does it make people FEEL more confident, they will come across to the provider as someone worth investing as much as possible with.  Since I am also on the side of the medical providers and engaged in equal interactions with providers and consumers, their frustrations are VERY similar to that of the consumers: not enough time with the patient, being inundated with information and trying to find the information they're needing for the patients they're dealing with that day/week, etc.  And they also feel discouraged when they give good advise to patients and the patient isn't REALLY invested in their health. The classic example is of the diabetic who doesn't revise their lifestyle.  So when a medical consumer presents with this type of approach, it equalizes the relationship, essentially.  The professional appreciates the serious approach that the consumer/patient is taking. I teach these concepts within my sessions with clients/patients and have given notebooks and starter kits to them as an opening 'gift'; that also gets the attention of the consumer/patient that this isn't going to be like most providers where it's all 'you give to me/I'll take your money/insurance benefits and information and you don't get anything'.  And I'd give them notes from our visits to get them in the habit of expecting documentation of their visits.  

WONDERFUL, thank you again. In addition to all the consumers who will embrace and implement this, I am excited to think of all the OTs around the country who might start including this in their sessions (and other providers as appropriate)! ~~ Mardy

 

__________________

Live and Learn. Learn and Live Better! is my motto. I'm Mardy Ross, and I founded Lumigrate in 2008 after a career as an occupational therapist with a background in health education and environmental research program administration. Today I function as the desk clerk for short questions people have, as well as 'concierge' services offered for those who want a thorough exploration of their health history and direction to resources likely to progress their health according to their goals. Contact Us comes to me, so please do if you have questions or comments. Lumigrate is "Lighting the Path to Health and Well-Being" for increasing numbers of people. Follow us on social networking sites such as: Twitter: http://twitter.com/lumigrate and Facebook. (There is my personal page and several Lumigrate pages. For those interested in "groovy" local education and networking for those uniquely talented LumiGRATE experts located in my own back yard, "LumiGRATE Groove of the Grand Valley" is a Facebook page to join. (Many who have joined are beyond our area but like to see the Groovy information! We not only have FUN, we are learning about other providers we can be referring patients to and 'wearing a groove' to each other's doors -- or websites/home offices!) By covering some of the things we do, including case examples, it reinforces the concepts at Lumigrate.com as well as making YOU feel that you're part of a community. Which you ARE at Lumigrate!

Mardy Ross's picture
Mardy Ross
Title: LumiGRATE Poster - Top of the Totem Pole
Joined: Feb 16 2009
Posts: 1933
User offline. Last seen 11 hours 40 min ago.
Added Thought! What a GIFT IDEA!

 You know, a person could print this out and roll it into a scroll and put a little ribbon on it and present it as a nice gift to someone they might want to offer their TIME and ENERGY as a benefit of their friendship or family.  Just a thought, particularly for those who are needing to be thrifty with money.  But in reality, people with a lot of money can buy things but the gift of TIME is often the BEST someone can give them! ~~ Mardy

__________________

Live and Learn. Learn and Live Better! is my motto. I'm Mardy Ross, and I founded Lumigrate in 2008 after a career as an occupational therapist with a background in health education and environmental research program administration. Today I function as the desk clerk for short questions people have, as well as 'concierge' services offered for those who want a thorough exploration of their health history and direction to resources likely to progress their health according to their goals. Contact Us comes to me, so please do if you have questions or comments. Lumigrate is "Lighting the Path to Health and Well-Being" for increasing numbers of people. Follow us on social networking sites such as: Twitter: http://twitter.com/lumigrate and Facebook. (There is my personal page and several Lumigrate pages. For those interested in "groovy" local education and networking for those uniquely talented LumiGRATE experts located in my own back yard, "LumiGRATE Groove of the Grand Valley" is a Facebook page to join. (Many who have joined are beyond our area but like to see the Groovy information! We not only have FUN, we are learning about other providers we can be referring patients to and 'wearing a groove' to each other's doors -- or websites/home offices!) By covering some of the things we do, including case examples, it reinforces the concepts at Lumigrate.com as well as making YOU feel that you're part of a community. Which you ARE at Lumigrate!

Martine Ehrenclou's picture
Martine Ehrenclou
Title: LumiGRATE Poster - Frequently
Joined: Aug 15 2011
Posts: 20
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: 12 Tips to Prevent Misdiagnosis; Increase Understanding ...

Mardy, thank you so much for allowing me to contribute to Lumigrate. It’s such a great website and has a wealth of great information for people. The more you know, the more empowered you feel. That’s the goal—for patients to feel empowered and informed.

I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote about the value of patients showing to their doctors that they are invested in their health and medical care. Many doctors I interviewed said that if patients are invested, they’ll be more invested too. That is what patients what—investment and engagement from their physicians and other medical professionals.

I like your scroll idea for a holiday gift. How about including a small notebook? A notebook is an essential tool for patients when meeting with their physicians. To make the most of the office visit, patients can create a list of questions ahead of time and write down the answers in their notebook. No one can remember everything a doctor has said in an office visit and taking notes makes it much easier to refer to later and discuss with loved ones. Besides, it’s handy to note symptoms and any research a patient has done on their medical treatment.

__________________

I'm an author, patient advocate and speaker. My new book, The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care, was released 5/2012 www.TheTakeChargePatient.com I lecture, write and publish articles on the issues of patient safety, patient advocacy, the collaborative relationship between patients and medical professionals, effective communication strategies to interact with medical professionals and other health/medical related issues. I hope you benefit and enjoy my being part of things at Lumigrate as much as I do! Also, I am a member of: -HHS, Partnership for Patients -The Society of Participatory Medicine -The National Patient Advocate Foundation -National Healthcare Advocacy Consultants

Robin Thomas's picture
Robin Thomas
Title: LumiGRATE Poster - Top of the Totem Pole
Joined: Aug 21 2010
Posts: 94
User offline. Last seen 4 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: 12 Tips to Prevent Misdiagnosis; Increase Understanding ...

This information is SO IMPORTANT!  Thank you, Martine! 

Having had an ER visit for my son who had had two major seizures just last week, I was so grateful that I was prepared with most of your suggestions.  Most important was having the information readily available.  Preparing ahead of time is crucial.  We were able to print out our son's basic medical history in a moment and also have a HealthFile app on a handheld.   But what if the power was off, or the batteries down in our handheld?   Having a hard copy, like in a notebook, is a fantastic idea for most people.  It can be kept in a purse or otherwise convenient location. 

We all must be advocates for our own care and the care of our loved ones.  You may very well have saved the life, or at least improved the quality of life, with your post.

Again,

Thank you!

Robin

__________________

Robin started contributing to  Lumigrate in August 2010.  "Meet Robin Thomas", a topic in our biographies/vitae forum is at http://www.lumigrate.com/forum/meet-robin-thomas to read all about her journey, which was greatly influenced by the need to help solve her youngest son's significant health challenges. For those who want just the overview here: After working over 22 years in medical research at the University of North Carolina on chronic inflammatory diseases she switched her focus to preventive health in 2004 when she was introduced to USANA Health Sciences.   Robin is passionate about helping others improve their health, have more energy, manage their weight, and improve their skin. 

I love meeting new friends !

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"I dream of a world free from pain and suffering. I dream of a world free from disease. The USANA family will be the healthiest family on earth. Share my vision. Love life and live it to its fullest in happiness and health."

-Dr. Myron Wentz, Founder and Chairman, USANA Health Sciences

 

This forum is provided to allow members of Lumigrate to share information and ideas. Any recommendations made by forum members regarding medical treatments, medications, or procedures are not endorsed by Lumigrate or practitioners who serve as Lumigrate's medical experts.

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