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Six steps to fewer radiology errors

Radiologists in California and across the US are prone to making mistakes just as much as anyone else in the medical profession. Long shifts and excessive workloads can lead to negative emotional states and burnout. Cognitive biases, whereby radiologists only report on what they were trained to look for, can lead to missed conditions. False-positive readings, on the other hand, can be involved in some 30% of diagnoses with MRIs and CT scans.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or reduce the number of radiology errors. One is, of course, to address burnout through shorter shifts, structured breaks and double reads. Another is to set up a peer-review process among radiologists. This can be managed with the help of special software.

A third step lies in taking advantage of what artificial intelligence and machine learning technology have to offer. These advances have led to new tools that can read large data sets and recommend patient therapies with great accuracy. Fourth, when faced with incidental findings, radiologists should have a way to follow up on it in a timely manner.

Fifth, radiologists can benefit from structured reporting. Among other things, it can improve communication between them and the referring physicians. Lastly, continual education via a learning management system or e-learning platform is highly recommended.

If a radiologist fails to live up to an objective standard of care, and if that negligence leads to patient harm, the patient may have good grounds for a medical malpractice case. Pursuing such a case can be difficult, so victims may want a lawyer by their side. If a patient dies, his or her family could file the claim. In either case, an attorney may speak on the plaintiff's behalf for a settlement out of court before considering going to trial.

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Law Offices of Neil M. Howard
717 North Douglas Street
El Segundo, CA 90245

Phone: 424-259-4807
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