Journalist, author, and editor Maya Dusenbery first became interested in why women are so often misdiagnosed about five years ago, right after she learned she had rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease.
Dusenbery, an executive editor at Feministing and author of “Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick,” spoke at the recent Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine conference about her research and reporting on the gender gap surrounding medical diagnosis. Continue reading
Balancing the challenges of underdiagnosis (missing or delaying important diagnoses) and overdiagnosis (labeling patients with diseases that may never cause suffering or death) can feel like walking across a canyon on a tightrope. Diagnostic errors occur in an estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of cases and will affect most Americans at least once in their lifetime. They are the leading cause of medical malpractice claims, harming more than 4 million people at a cost of more than $100 billion. Continue reading
Every nine minutes, someone in a U.S. hospital dies due to a medical diagnosis that was wrong or delayed. This jarring fact is front and center on the home page of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). Reducing this number to zero is why some 400 physicians, nurses, patients, health institutions, nonprofits, and policymakers gathered in New Orleans this week for the 11th annual Diagnostic Error in Medicine Annual International Conference. Continue reading
You may have recently heard about the multimillion-dollar donation that Bill Gates and Leonard Lauder made to support research into biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
The Diagnostics Accelerator initiative is part of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s (ADDF) effort to speed diagnosis and develop drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure the disease. Lauder was an ADDF co-founder. Continue reading
More people are living with Alzheimer’s than ever before — and more are also dying from the disease, according to a new report from the CDC. Alzheimer’s-related deaths in the United States more than doubled between 1999 and 2014 — from 44,536 to 93,541. That’s a 54.5 percent jump in 15 years. Rates were higher among women compared with men and among non-Hispanic whites compared with other racial/ethnic populations.
While most people with the disease still die in nursing homes, the proportion of older adults dying at home also increased significantly during this time frame — from 13.9 percent in 1999 to 24.9 percent in 2014. Continue reading
Photo: Carla K. Johnson(from left) Paul Epner of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, Dr. Karen Cosby of Rush University Medical School, and Dr. David Liebovitz of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. spoke to Chicago’s AHCJ chapter.
If you’ve read Dr. Lisa Sanders’ “Diagnosis” column in The New York Times Magazine, you know the process of identifying a patient’s problem can be fraught with opportunities for error. You also know diagnosis is rich territory for dramatic storytelling.
For health care journalists, it’s a great time to write about the topic. Errors in diagnosis are receiving new attention because of the recently released Institute of Medicine report “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care.” It’s part of the landmark “Quality Chasm Series” that produced the “To Err is Human” report in 2000 and the “Crossing the Quality Chasm” report in 2001. Continue reading