The Journal of the American Medical Association review of autopsy studies found that doctors misdiagnose 8 – 24% of the time. According to Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think and chairman of experimental medicine at Harvard University, errors are due to what experts term “anchoring” Anchoring is when a healthcare professional is stubbornly stuck on a diagnosis and fails to consider other possibilities.

Doctors are increasingly using the internet to assist in finding answers to a patient’s ailments, according to “Googling for a Diagnosis” a British Medical Journey conducted last year. While some are “Googling for a Diagnosis”, others turn to Isabel, a decision support system already implemented in 18 hospitals across the United States.

Isabel is simple to use. Healthcare providers enter typical patient data such as age, gender, pregnancy status, location, and symptoms. The system then releases possible diagnoses neatly categorized into different types of diseases and other possible causes such as medication. The software also takes into consideration the diseases native to a particular part of the world.

While technology advances medicine, it is important to know that it will never surpass the individual judgment of a healthcare provider. Although the lofty sum of $50,000 a year to use Isabel is pricey, the potential cost-savings associated with preventing a diagnosis error as well as ensuring the well-being of the patient is worth every penny.

The cost: around $50,000 a year for a 300 bed hospital
Demo: USA News, Official Isabel

[Source: USA News]

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