How technology is reducing medical diagnostic errors

05/12/2023

MEDICAL misdiagnosis costs the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds every year, with some claims lasting years as they are complex to unravel. This is all money that could be better spent on improving treatments and patient care. 

Technology has firmly set a place in every industry, so the medical sector is embracing the change. There are certain software programs that help to reduce diagnostic errors, however, so there may be a decrease in medical misdiagnosis compensation claims as the years go on. 

What is a medical misdiagnosis?

A medical misdiagnosis is also known as a diagnostic error. Diagnostic errors occur when a medical professional, be it a doctor, nurse or specialist, fails to investigate a patient’s symptoms correctly. This results in an incorrect diagnosis and a failure to provide the correct treatment. A medical misdiagnosis may also happen when a medical professional fails to diagnose a medical condition at all. 

Diagnostic errors can lead to unnecessary suffering and pain and can worsen the impact of an illness or injury. 

How technology is reducing diagnostic errors

Technology has developed rapidly in recent decades and its usage has been implemented across the medical field. When it comes to diagnostic errors, there are ways that technology can assist. 

Human error is a main cause of medical errors, whether it is misreading test results or not recognising that the symptoms could indicate a different condition. Typing errors can occur which can result in incorrect information in a patient’s file. One simple way of reducing typing mistakes is to use artificial intelligence (AI). AI can be used to assist with the more repetitive tasks such as filling in a patient’s blood type. Blood type is crucial information so a mistyped letter could cause catastrophic consequences. By using AI to fill in that information on all of the patient’s records, it ensures that the correct data is captured. 

AI can also be used to help diagnose people in the initial stages of care. They can be used to aid physicians in deciphering X-rays, magnetic resonance images and computed tomography scans. This can result in a quicker, more accurate diagnosis for people. 

Although this is in the early stages, there is a future where AI is able to see patterns in large volumes of data. This will enable researchers to find cures and treatments for diseases quickly and with less trial and error. 

Although medical technology is a continuously developing field, the medical industry can benefit by reducing incorrect diagnoses. Whilst it is hard to predict where the future will take medical technology, it is safe to assume more and more automation will be useful for our doctors and nurses. 

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