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ACT initiative launched to decrease misdiagnosis

Approximately every nine minutes in New York and across the United States, someone dies in a hospital due to receiving an incorrect medical diagnosis or delayed treatment. Though the statistics have improved over the years, an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 individuals currently die each year due to delayed treatment or misdiagnosed conditions. An additional 12 million people are affected by errors when being diagnosed, and an estimated 4 million of these individuals experience serious harm due to being misdiagnosed.

In an effort to raise awareness about the problem and decrease the number of deaths due to misdiagnoses, the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has launched a new initiative. The society's initiative, which is known as "ACT [Accurate, Communicated, Timely] for Better Diagnosis," is being backed by over 40 health care organizations. The initiative aims to break down some of the barriers that can lead to a misdiagnosis occurring. These barriers include incorrect or incomplete communication, time restraints, limited support, complicated diagnostic procedures, lack of feedback when a misdiagnosis does occur and lack of research funding.

As part of the initiative, each health care group has agreed to improve cases of misdiagnoses by undertaking a project of their choosing. Though the type of project and specific details were left up to each organization, SIDM will support the efforts that are being made.

Being incorrectly diagnosed or receiving delayed treatment may lead to costly medical care, a worsened medical condition, serious harm or death. Medical professionals have an obligation to care for patients to the best of their ability. If a doctor acted negligently, and the patient was harmed due to this negligence, that person may be able to receive compensation. In this situation, a lawyer may be able to compile a case that shows that the doctor behaved negligently by submitting proof that too many hours were worked or that the hospital didn't have enough support staff on hand, which may allow a patient or family members of the patient to receive a settlement.

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