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The problems presented by overdiagnosing

Medical mistakes made by providers in Providence and throughout the rest of the country can have a significant financial impact on the healthcare market. Information shared from the Institute of Medicine in a report by the diagnostic management company Premerus estimates that dealing with cases of medical negligence and misdiagnosis costs between $17 to $29 billion every year. These costs can potentially be felt across the market.

Most associate misdiagnosis with a failure to detect disease or the assignment of a wrong diagnosis. Yet recently, diagnoses that exaggerate a patient’s condition or assign them an ailment that isn’t even present have begun to be viewed as a serious problem. Many healthcare industry experts refer to this as “overdiagnosing.” 

Overdiagnosing can take a serious toll on patients. The stress associated with treatment can be difficult for both patients and families, and often the clinical components of a care plan can lead to other health problems. Patients who learn that they were made to go through such stresses without actually needing them often suffer lasting physical and psychological effects. 

What leads to overdiagnosing? Some cases may be due to doctors being overzealous in their care. Yet others point to the expansions of the clinical definitions that define conditions as possibly contributing to cases of medical misdiagnosis. A recent study shared by the medical journal PLOS Medicine showed some of the clinical panels which make those decisions may be subject to improper influences. Of the panels reviewed in the study, 75 percent included participants with ties to the pharmacological industry.

While patients shouldn’t be discouraged from trusting in the diagnostic abilities of their providers, they are encouraged to be active participants in their own care. That may include seeking a second opinion should they feel the treatments they’re receiving aren’t appropriate.  

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