Diagnostic error is one of the most important safety problems in healthcare today, and inflicts the most harm. Major diagnostic errors are found in 10% to 20% of autopsies, suggesting that 40,000 to 80,000 patients die annually in the U.S. from diagnostic errors. Misdiagnosis is the most common, costly, and dangerous medical mistake and it continues to be a serious issue in the United States.
While diagnostic errors occur across all medical specialties, a team from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that nearly three-fourths of serious errors were affiliated with cancers (37 percent), vascular events (22 percent), and infections (13 percent). The team identified 15 conditions that accounted for about half of all of the severe misdiagnosis-related harms. Stroke, sepsis, and lung cancer were among the commonly misdiagnosed.
Historically, physicians would need to consult multiple systems and databases for patient results, which often led to disjointed information and misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. With Hitachi Healthcare’s Sonticus®, physicians are notified when the critical thresholds of clinical findings are exceeded; bringing to their attention patterns that may indicate serious health conditions. Sonticus® is compatible with all study modalities and diagnostic reports sent to the VidiStar cardiovascular information system (CVIS). The platform can be configured to use industry standard critical values for disease states (default) or allows you to set your own critical thresholds by institution, by practice or by patient; focusing attention on irregularities that otherwise may have been missed. The platform delivers value on all levels: patient, doctor, practice.
Sonticus® is able to monitor data as it comes in from the reports by physicians, looking for specific value criteria. These criteria can be customized in the settings by each physician depending on what health issues they are looking out for or professional opinion of what is worth notification. Sonticus® watches for these criteria to be met, and sends alerts as soon as a report meeting criteria is submitted. When critical values are exceeded or a disease has progressed beyond thresholds, Sonticus® alerts the doctor, or broader care team, through rapid notification. This rapid notification, in some cases, can mean the difference between life and death for a patient. One health example to prove how critical Sonticus is for physicians is if Sonticus notifies of values relating to sepsis. If sepsis is not treated early, it can turn into septic shock and cause your organs to fail.
Critical communications, especially those that are designed to protect against loss of life, should always be time efficient and accurate. Sonticus® is a way to quickly get data and provide notifications back to a distribution group. Once the clinical conditions are configured and the patient’s values exceed the appropriate thresholds, Sonticus® will automatically send an email to the distribution group. This lets the predetermined distribution list know that a patient result needs immediate attention so that the physician can determine what treatment or procedure the patient may require.
The most common reasons for errors were related to clinical judgment failures, such as failing to order a diagnostic test or consultation, having too narrow of a diagnostic focus, failing to properly evaluate relevant symptoms or test results, and misinterpreting diagnostic test results. With vascular events such as a TIA, or stroke, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. However, many are missed at first. Misdiagnosis is a major issue in the United States with an estimated 100,000 people dying or becoming permanently disabled due to a misdiagnosis each year.
Hospitals and medical practices generate large amounts of patient data each day via medical imaging equipment, monitors, and specialized testing. However, comprehensive analysis and looking deeper than the surface are beyond the capabilities or time constraints of many healthcare professionals and organizations, resulting in many forms of diagnostic error and misdiagnoses. Sonticus® may change everything and become incredibly valuable in critical results reporting.
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