Home > Healthcare Business, Improving Healthcare, Physician Practices > BMJ Group — “Stop the silent misdiagnosis: patients’ preferences matter”

BMJ Group — “Stop the silent misdiagnosis: patients’ preferences matter”

The BMJ Group is owned by the British medical Association, and it provides research, medical information, and resources to improve outcomes for patients and the provision of healthcare worldwide.

In recent decades, rapid advances in the biosciences have delivered an explosion of treatment options. This is good news for patients, but it makes medical decision making more complicated. Most critically, an accurate medical diagnosis is no longer sufficient to identify the proper treatment. Just as important is an accurate preference diagnosis.1 Every option for treatment (a term that we use broadly here, to include procedures, tests, and even watchful waiting) has a unique profile of risks, benefits, and side effects. Doctors, generalists as well as specialists, cannot recommend the right treatment without understanding how the patient values the trade-offs. Regrettably, patients’ preferences are often misdiagnosed.

The article’s authors provide a method for making better preference diagnoses:

  • Adopt a mindset of scientific detachment
  • Formulate a data based provisional diagnosis
  • Engage the patient in conversation and deliberation
  • Team talk
  • Option talk
  • Decision talk

The result should be better care, not necessarily more care, but more cost effective care and better patient satisfaction.

This study was also commented on by The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science in a press release, in which it stated that “Standard & Poor’s has warned a number of countries, including the US and UK, could see their credit ratings downgraded within the next decade if they fail to cut health care costs.”

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