The concept of inaccurate diagnosis is a common finding among doctors, who for various reasons, may not be totally culpable for some of these inaccurate diagnosis. It is quite unimaginable to believe that a doctor purposefully sets out to make a series of mistakes, in the form of a diagnostical errors.

Inaccurate diagnosis comes in different shades, intensity or phases. Any inaccurate diagnosis could be either; a misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

Arriving at a diagnosis can be an elusive process, not always easily uncovered through physical exams or tests. As a patient, you are in partnership with your doctor. To be an effective team player you need to be an active participant in your care, not simply a passive recipient.

One sure way to prevent an error in diagnosis is by patients being active players; this means keeping a Symptom Diary. Read more about this simple-to-apply diary, as on KevinMD Blog

Before you see your doctor, create a symptom diary. Document your symptoms in a notebook, on your smartphone or other electronic device. Answer these questions:

  1. What are your symptoms?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. What makes your symptoms worse or better, such as exercise or eating a meal?
  4. Time of day your symptoms are better or worse?
  5. Was there a physical event or new medication associated with the onset of your symptoms?
  6. What you have tried to alleviate your symptoms? Was anything successful?
  7. If pain accompanies your symptoms or pain is the symptom, track it. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, document it daily.
  8. Bring your symptom diary with you to see your doctor and discuss it with him/her.

List of questions before you see your doctor

Create a list of questions before you see your doctor. This allows you to think about what you need to focus on. Document the answers and other information the doctor explains.

You are given a new diagnosis

If you are given a new diagnosis from your doctor, consider asking these questions:
  1. What is my diagnosis and what does it mean?
  2. Are there any other possible diagnoses?
  3. How did you arrive at this diagnosis? (i.e., test results, physical exam, radiology report, etc.)
  4. What is my treatment plan?
  5. When do I follow up with you about my treatment plan?

If you suspect a misdiagnosis

If your treatment is not helping your symptoms, discuss it with your doctor.

It’s possible that there is an alternate treatment that might work better for you.

Ask your doctor if it’s possible that you might have a different diagnosis.

All these are possible. You, as a patient must be ready to take an active role in your therapy. The days when doctors find it convenient, not to explain symptoms and findings to patients, are long gone.

Be wise today and take the lead in what ever therapeutic option you are going through. It is your right to know!!!

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