To the Editor:
The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes a newsletter that digests the most significant research in healthcare and reports it to the general public. Their reporter Liz Szabo published this news in the Jan. 18 edition. The news isn’t good.
Szabo reports, “In a study published Jan. 8 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that nearly 1 in 4 hospital patients who died or were transferred to intensive care had experienced a diagnostic error. Nearly 18 percent of misdiagnosed patients were harmed or died.
In all, an estimated 795,000 patients a year die or are permanently disabled because of misdiagnosis, according to a study published in July in the BMJ Quality & Safety periodical.”
One of the causes for the unacceptable rate of misdiagnosis in healthcare is increasing pressure on doctors to see more patients to increase profits, resulting in physicians having to spend less time with patients.
The profit motive in healthcare is a danger to every American in every income strata. Current solutions are Band-aids on a deeply flawed system. We need to consider fundamental change to our profit-based system.