How concussive treatment may be prone to misdiagnosis

Patients may expect their doctors to hold degrees and licenses in the areas that they practice. In the United States, those qualifications are generally earned from accredited medical schools. Doctors and physicians may also be subject to continuing education requirements from accredited providers.

Accordingly, it may come as a surprise to some readers to learn that a private company offers a computer test for use in diagnosing concussions, and that individuals who have completed training on that software may market themselves as credentialed specialists in concussion management. Unfortunately, a recent article exposes the truth: that term does not have a medical meaning.

If this sounds like a recipe for a medical malpractice claim, at least one health care professional might agree. He works in the field of concussive injuries and keeps a file on bad diagnostic opinions, ranging from MRI test results to lack of consciousness or migraine headaches. As a neurologist knows, concussive injury cannot be reliably diagnosed with a brain scan or blood test. Rather, an array of tests must be applied, measuring cognitive responses, balance, eye and other movements, and other symptoms.

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is doing its part to help standardize the professional level of care required to treat concussive patients. It now offers a certification in this area to physicians. Yet according to an online registry, around 517 concussion clinics have popped up across the United States. Although professionals other than a neurologist might be able to help with concussive symptoms, there is also a risk of misdiagnosis or other missed symptoms.