Has technology made traditional diagnostic techniques obsolete in the world of medicine? More importantly, are doctors still competent in conventional assessment methods?
Take the example of the stethoscope in cardiology. A 1997 study examined the ability of over 450 physicians in training and over 80 medical students to correctly identify 12 common cardiac events. Alarmingly, researchers characterized the successful diagnostic rate as disturbingly low.
One reason that medical professionals might be losing the skills needed to correctly interpret sounds from a stethoscope is the availability of imaging and other technology. Technology already exists that applies algorithms to stethoscope sounds in order to suggest possible diagnoses. Other methods, such as echocardiograms or ultrasound, may offer an even better examination of the heart and lungs, as well as blood vessels. According to one article, imaging tests are more accurate than stethoscope data interpretation.
Yet diagnostic imaging can be costly, and a hospital or insurance provider might impose extra requirements and costs before approving this testing. As a law firm that focuses on medical malpractice, we do not believe that financial considerations should be the primary consideration in a patient’s care.
If you have negligently been denied medical testing or believe that your diagnosis may be incomplete, consult with an attorney about your rights. Even if filing a civil claim of medical malpractice may be premature, simply having legal representation may prove beneficial in communications with your doctor. A proactive approach may prevent injuries resulting from medical negligence, and possibly result in more comprehensive care.