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Possibility of computers helping doctors reduce misdiagnoses

It is an uncomfortable feeling -- knowing that there is something wrong with your health but fearful of knowing what it is. Residents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere rely on medical professionals to not only determine what is wrong with us but also to determine what the best course of treatment is. But a treatment plan is only as good as the diagnosis it is based off of, and when a doctor fails to properly diagnose a patient, he or she could suffer due to the wrong treatment plan and a delayed diagnosis.

To decrease the rate of diagnostic errors harming patients across the nation, doctors are questioning whether computers could help them achieve this goal. According to recent research, two major findings were revealed. First, doctors easily outperformed computers, getting their diagnoses correct 72 percent of the time compared to 34 percent for computers. Second, the misdiagnosis rate for doctors was high.

While it was expected that doctors would outperform online symptom checkers, researchers are focused on whether this is the best machine capable of this task. The next step, according to these researchers, is to harness the power of artificial intelligence in computer-assisted diagnostics. This AI boosted computer should boost performance, but first, a program must be created.

Although the idea of an AI computer that could reduce diagnostic errors would be ideal for patients, the unfortunate reality is that misdiagnoses do occur. And when a misdiagnosis does occur, a patient could suffer and even lose their life. In these matters, patients and their loved ones have recourse. A medical malpractice claim could help them recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Medical Economics, "Can computers help doctors reduce diagnostic errors?" Todd Shryock, Dec. 5, 2016

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