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Delayed diagnosis in Ohio may be medical malpractice

A report on outpatient care blamed delays in diagnosis and treatment on poor teamwork, bureaucratic messes, miscommunication and a lack of coordinated care. The study was done by the Veterans Administration between 2005 and 2012, and tried to identify the causes for failure to diagnose as well as delays in treatment for an average of four months. Researchers said that this kind of delay might be as harmful to patients as a misdiagnosis.

One possibly troubling aspect of the study was that advanced health information technology, such as the VA's integrated electronic health records system, was not sufficient to eliminate delays in patient care. The study's primary author said that the research showed that, even in a well-integrated and mostly closed system like the VA's, coordination and communication issues remained. He said this might have implications for the rest of the country regarding data exchange between primary care doctors and specialists.

The study showed that those seeking care carried some of the burden for the delays. It said that 10 percent of scheduled follow-up appointments were not kept by patients. A further third of care delays were due to poor coordination, such as situations in which a patient needed to see a specialist for a follow-up, but nothing was scheduled or otherwise done about it.

Hospital negligence or physician error can be devastating. An Ohio lawyer with experience in medical malpractice lawsuits may be able to help individuals and families after an emergency room error, pharmacy mistake or other failures in the health care process. Such a lawyer may be able to arrange compensation after medical negligence, for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Source: American Medical News, "Study details how primary care diagnoses get delayed", Kevin B. O'Reilly, August 26, 2013

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