Every once in a while, almost all of us undergo a medical test and we rely on its accuracy. The medical test results are the source to figure out what happens next. Our healthcare providers may prescribe a new treatment or we are diagnosing with something new. They may change our treatment plan or declare us a cure for our current medical problem. According to the results, we are often suggested of just doing what we have been expected to.
Fig: Know the Accuracy of Your Medical Test Results
What most of us don’t know is that all medical test results are not accurate or correct. Inaccuracy or fallacy of test results may cause a missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis or even failure in diagnosis. As a result, we don’t get proper treatment or even get the wrong treatment due to which we are forced to suffer from something we didn’t actually have.
There are different reasons behind getting inaccurate or wrong test results. It is basically due to mistakes in handling specimens and messing up the documents. There are also problems in how the medical test is conducted or whether the equipment was calibrated properly. The tests may also have issues with accuracy on themselves.
There is nothing much to do to avoid these reasons especially because of circumstances which are out of our control. The only way out is to undergo the same test again to prevent the outcomes of those pitfalls in case the original findings are wrong.
When we discuss the problem in accuracy, it is because of the quality of a medical test and the results of the same. The medical test which is reviewing and running properly, deliver the right outcomes. Most of them are 100% accurate, but those tests also have a risk of failure, even though it is too small.
There are medical tests that are not accurate and dependable enough for their outcomes. Also, you get some evidence to know whether you should rely on their results or run additional tests. It doesn’t mean that medical test is wrong. It may mean that the test is just not accurate enough for some of the purposes. When medical tests are conducted for years, doctors are fully aware of their rates of accuracy who conduct them. But it may not the case for recent tests.
For patients awareness, the key is to ask about the accuracy of tests before and after getting results. Today, both patients and doctors have to know and better understand whether they can rely on the results. The reliability of results will help find out what to do next. Here are some of thing things to consider for both doctors and scientists to determine the accuracy of medical test –
When you get the test results which influence your decisions regarding what to do next – or which doctor you should choose to change their recommendations – here’s what you need to ask to figure out the reliability and accuracy of results –
If there is an indication from the doctor about the inaccuracy of the results, ask these questions –
It is your own research and doctor’s answers that will help you make the next decision about your health.
There is nothing more annoying or disappointing for you or your doctor than getting no name or label for what your symptoms mean. Not getting any label or name for those symptoms means the patient is not diagnosed. Doctors use the term ‘failure to diagnose’ to specify that a patient has some unidentified or undiagnosed symptoms.
We also know this as one of the forms of missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. There is the case of legal ramifications in case where failure in diagnosis caused harm to a patient. When it comes to curing a diagnosed injury or illness, when a failure occurs, it is just known as ‘delayed diagnosis’.
Fig: Reasons behind Failure of Diagnosis
The frequency on which patients are not diagnosed varies as per the symptoms or final diagnosis. Here are some of the common examples of misdiagnosis –
These are just the examples. Misdiagnosis can take place in virtually any condition or disease.
You should keep in mind that the doctor wants you to have a proper diagnosis as it will be ideal to figure out the best treatment. In addition, you should keep in mind that medical science is highly advanced, but it doesn’t mean it is always perfect or accurate. It is important to know what you don’t have.
There are chances that your doctor is more willing to find out what’s going wrong in your body. If you are remain without a diagnosis for a long time, and gets irritated because your doctor couldn’t confirm a specific problem with you, it doesn’t mean you should completely rely on the internet for self-diagnosis. It is because there are certain risks in doing that.
Most of us just rely on the internet for our health-relevant concerns. According to a 2014 study in the Pew Research Center, around 87% of adults in the US had used the web for their health concerns. In 2012, around 72% of them added that they have used the internet for self-diagnosis.
Over the past few years, patients are using the web to find medical information. A doctor taking a couple of minutes to explain a disease, its anticipates course, and Genesis, after a description of cure options. With the propagation of the web, a technology which has led to change medicine more than another invention has literally changed the patient-physician dynamic. Today, anyone can access health information and bring the same knowledge to the doctor’s office.
Medical information on the internet is considering as supplemental from a clinical point of view and is using well to help in decision making. Medical information you get on the web shouldn’t be used for cure or self-diagnosis.
Patients are usually using the web in two different ways. First off, patients seek details before visiting the clinic to choose whether they have to meet healthcare professional to start with. In addition, patients search the web after the doctor’s appointment for either because of disappointment with the information provided by the doctor or reassurance that the information provided is correct.
Even after gathering health information from the web, most of us don’t use the web to diagnose ourselves and visit our physicians to conduct diagnoses. In addition, a lot of people ask their physicians about drugs and details about an alternative cure for referrals to the specialists.
Especially active users are the ones having chronic illnesses who not just seek more information about their problems using the web but also look for others regarding support. In addition, people who don’t have insurance often check the web to learn about illness and symptoms. In the end, people with rare illnesses often share details and scientific resources with online platforms that would be forced to meet others like the ones in the real world.
According to Patient Education & Counseling review, Miriam McMullan recommends healthcare professional to respond in any of three ways after patient sends health information online to a health care provider or physician.
Then, the physician will use the rest of a short visit of a patient to direct them towards the physician’s own action. With this approach, the patient may feel disappointed and annoyed and patients can leave the appointment feeling that they are often equipped better than a physician in seeking treatment options and health info online.
Nothing is clearer than general reactions of doctors who hear from patients round-the-clock. This way, Dr. Farrah Ahmed organized six groups with 48 physicians who had been practicing in Toronto. According to them, there are three overarching themes –
In the focus group, physicians claimed that, some patients who rely on internet health info were distressed or confused by the information. A smaller number of patients used the web to either learn for self-diagnosis or learn more about their pre-specified medical conditions with our without self-care. Patients who use the web for self-treatment and self-diagnosis were considered as challenging.
The physicians who based their opinions on sentiments of patients, the inability of patients to evaluate the health details and the likeliness of patients to accept health info on blind faith have been presented.
Physicians loved it when patients learned more about their specific medical conditions using the web. However, physicians are totally against the fact that patients using internet information to either treat or diagnose themselves or test their knowledge. They didn’t just characterize patients as challenging but also ‘adversarial’, ‘neurotic’ and ‘harder’ and coming from the educational background. They also discussed emotions of frustration and anger when it comes to defending their treatments and diagnosed with those patients.
Here are some of the specific comments from those physicians –
There are many doctors in the study who believed that putting information from the web in relation to the patients is their responsibility. In simple word, the physician is responsible to consider the medical history of each patient. For those self-educators who are using the web to learn more, this process is very smooth and also allowing treatment.
However, it is taxing for physicians to teach patients who have a concern and details from the web. In the end, patients who rely on the web to self-treat or self-diagnose the condition often allow physicians and ask them to defend their diagnosis when providing incorrect details from the web.
Remarkably, only few doctors didn’t feel that using online information was their responsibility. In addition, some physicians went so far to avoid patients who asked those details, charge extra for their visit, or refer those patients to the specialized.
There are many physicians that dealing with information about the patient is cumbersome and time-consuming. Hence, they consider it as ‘annoying’, ‘irritating’, ‘frustrating’, headache and even ‘nightmare’. They are feeling that it is hard to deal with the health details about the patient. There is plenty of cynicism among focus group members. Along with the burden of having extra health information, there are many physicians showing concern over quantity and quality of health details on the web.
If you are concerned about the accuracy of health information on the web, Lab Me Analytics is the best solution as it is accurate and works on machine intelligence technology to diagnose the health condition of the patients. It is a lab information solution which is very efficient and accurate to help interpret medical test reports.
It can provide information in a very user-friendly manner and suggests solutions to help improve your condition. All in all, it is very helpful for patients who need the constant online blood test.