Employees Can Help Control Costs, for You and Them

Apr 16, 2014

Having the information you need is critical whether you’re making a business decision or a personal healthcare decision.  According to the  2012  report from Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), "Cases of delayed, missed, and incorrect diagnosis are common, with an incidence in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent. Diagnostic errors do not occur only in connection with unusual conditions but span the breadth of clinical medicine, from rare disorders to commonplace ones like anemia and asthma."  

Can you imagine the impact on your bottom line if your job-error rate was 10-20%?  Wow!

According to an April article by SHRM, misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate and costly medical treatments. Here are five steps they recommend that you can pass on to their employees to help them get the right care:

Don’t be shy. Be curious and insistent. Ask your doctor questions about your diagnosis and treatment. Ask things like, “What else could this be?” Keep asking questions every step of the way until you’re satisfied with the answers.

Get a second opinion. Focus on telling the doctor all of your symptoms. Don’t guide their thinking toward what the first doctor said you have.

Know your family medical history. Make sure your doctor knows about it. Studies show your family history may tell you more about what kinds of illnesses you may have or are likely to get than even genetic testing.

Take someone with you to doctor visits. It’s hard to comprehend difficult medical news and pay attention to all the details at the same time. Bring along a friend or family member to remind you of questions you want to ask, and to help you write down important notes.

Have your pathology re-checked. If you had a biopsy and your diagnosis is based on your pathology report, try to get it reviewed again. Pathology is incorrectly interpreted more often than commonly thought. If that interpretation is wrong, your diagnosis—and your treatment—are probably going to be wrong, too.

Misdiagnosis is the biggest reason for malpractice litigation.  In addition, all of us can help reduce wasteful spending on incorrect diagnosis or treatment plans.  Encourage your employees to advocate for themselves. Having questions planned out ahead of time can help employees think deeply about what they need and want to know, before they can get derailed by the potential stress of an appointment.  

Check out the Human Resource Services page for ideas on how we can help you work better with your workforce.


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