According to a Wolters Klewer Health poll, which surveyed 1,000 American adults, nearly three-quarters of patients say they are concerned about the potential for medical errors. Three in ten patients said they had experience with a medical error, either personally or through a close friend or family member. Twenty-one percent reported to have been misdiagnosed by a physician.
The American Medical News reported that a 2004 poll of 2,014 adults conducted on behalf of the Kaiser Family Foundation and other organizations found that thirty-four perfect reported that they or a loved one had experienced a medical error. Fifty-five percent said the quality of care had improved or stayed the same since the 1999 Institute of Medicine report “To Err is Human,” which cited research estimating that 100,000 Americans are killed annually by preventable medical harm. Four in ten said care had worsened since 1999.
Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by Wolters Kluwer said they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about medical mistakes. The survey went on to state that patients reported taking steps in protecting themselves, like getting a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment plan, or doing their own research to “validate a diagnosis or treatment plan.”
According to the American Medical News report, for most physicians, the patient’s own research can be a double-edged sword. Physicians like a well-informed patient who has the facts, knows what is going on, and can talk with them about their treatment plan. But, with the vast variety of sources out there, some patients are misinformed or find things that conflict with each other.