Study: Doctor errors equal poor diagnosis

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According to a new study, small errors by doctors play a role in almost 60 percent of instances in which patients are injured or receive a late diagnosis, the Associated Press/New York Times reports. The study investigated 307 resolved medical malpractice claims, of which 181 involved harm to patients because of a faulty diagnosis. The mistakes by physicians include not ordering the correct tests (100 cases), follow-up failures (81), not gathering appropriate information regarding history or doing a complete physical (76), or faulty assessment of tests (67). The study's lead author said the research shows that physicians need more assistance in making decisions. The authors suggest the use of electronic records, better algorithms for evaluations, and help from nursing staff to assure that appropriate treatment follow-up is coordinated with patients.