Residents of Hawaii who have an X-ray done may not have to worry much about the possibility of misdiagnosis, but those who undergo an MRI or CT scan are at a higher risk. Errors from false-positive readings can occur in 30% of diagnoses involving these two radiology exams. Radiology errors are among the most serious with 80% of missed diagnosis claims in radiology ending in either permanent injury or death according to Coverys.
Preventing radiology errors or at least reducing their likelihood is crucial, and there are several ways to do it. First, radiologists need to feel compelled to adhere to high standards of conduct, and this can be achieved through a peer-review process. Second, employers should do whatever they can, from shortening work shifts to structuring break time, to prevent burnout.
Next, employers might consider the advantages of AI and machine learning technology, which have been used to create new tools that can read large data sets and discover insights that help toward recommending patient therapies. Consistent follow-ups are also essential when radiologists uncover incidental findings.
To improve communication between radiologists and referring physicians, medical facilities should institute structured reporting. By acting as a checklist, structured reporting improves thinking and prevents an over-reliance on memory. Lastly, a multi-pronged approach to employees' education is important.
If a radiologist does miss a condition and that condition winds up causing harm to the patient, the patient may be able to accuse the radiologist of medical malpractice: that is, a failure to adhere to a generally accepted standard of medical care. Burnout, cognitive bias and an imbalance between analytical and intuitive thinking may all play a part in the error. Whatever the situation, the patient may consult with an attorney about the way to file a claim.