Philadelphia-, PA (PressExposure) July 10, 2006 -- How Common Are Medical Mistakes? The estimations run from the 98,000 to 195,000 deaths annually due to in-hospital medical errors in the USA alone. Seven years ago the Institute of Medicine published a report, To Err Is Human. Since then, new reports backed up the original data and cited higher figures. About 1.14 million patient-safety incidents occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population over the years 2000-2002. Proposals for a successful safety program require a national effort to make significant investments in information technology infrastructure and to provide an environment and education that enables to contribute to an active quality-improvement process. RDoctor, a developer of clinical decision support software, launched the free on-line version of Symptomat as a way to assist patient safety through providing a second opinion. Expert system of RDoctor looks for the solution of the problem from the point of early diagnostics and thorough detailed analysis of the patient's medical history.
"RDoctor provides clinical decision support and public health tool. Symptomat offers an Artificial Intelligence engine and robust repository of clinically relevant evidence based rules that can improve care" said Aleksandr Kavokin, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of RDoctor. "Doctors tend to focus on their own area of expertise and pay less attention to complaints and signs that seem less relevant. RDoctor software analyzes the whole picture by using thorough questioning."
Free on-line version of the software provides the patient with the list of probable diagnoses. Symptomat generates the list by comparing the combination of patient's answers with the knowledge encoded in the database. Two steps of the free version allow a patient to check for diagnoses that are highly probable and to avoid missing the less possible diseases. The third step is in development at present. It allows the patient to focus on the result of the first two steps.
One of the trends in the patient's management is relying on self-education and second opinions. The second opinion may prevent you from unnecessary and costly procedures and treatments.
A recent discussion on an AOL forum "Should we use the Internet to self-diagnose medical conditions?" reveals that at least half of patients rechecks their medical information on-line. Notes Carie, the discussion participant, "...I have spent over a million pounds in taxes in the UK and I have not had a doctor who shows any sign of competence, interest or engagement since the 1960s.Thank God we can access information and engage in dialogue with others on the Internet..." Writes another discussion participant: "...On one of our visits it was found that Pat had a very low iron level in her blood and as a result was unable to donate, she was advised to see her own GP, this she did and was put on Iron Tablets !!. I rearched the Internet and there were a lot of pointers indicating the beginnings of Cancer. Like a fool I failed to mention this to her for the obvious reasons. 5 months later in Feb 2001 she found a small lump in her breast, this turned out to be cancer, she had a Mastectomy followed by Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy...I have lost my lovely wife who may have survived if GP's had bothered to read her notes..." Posted by Hitman86: "...But the internet can be used as a self diagnosis service - i did it myself when I stomach problems... i managed 2 diagnose myself ...i had this problem for 8 months- i had lost a jobs because of it and i was gettng realyl stressed that the Doctors were getting it wrong." Posted by another participant: "I have been missed diagnosed for 12 years... With out the internet I would not have self diagnosed LYME DISEASE of which I am now being treated privately and for the first time in years I am feeling well." Posted by tinkerbell: "...The internet provides a wonderful source, if the appropriate sites are selected. ... My little boy was very ill several years ago. I took him backwards and forwards to my GP who diagnosed him with throat, chest, ear infections, all of which were not the true cause of his illnesses. I was told in no uncertain terms to go home and stop worrying. He was a toddler and toddlers get ill. However, I was convinced that he was very ill and looked up everything I could find on the internet. I felt a lump in his tummy which the doctors had said was a pulled muscle and added this to the diagnoses. Eventually, I was sure he had some form of malignancy. I went back to the doctor and told him my fears. With disbelief, he felt his tummy again and reluctantly decided to send him to hospital for a second opinion. Two days later, we were in a children's hospital where he had his kidney removed because of a massive tumour." Posted as a Viewpoint of a Medical Professional: "Absolutely excellent idea to use medical sites on the internet for self-diagnosis. This technique is becoming increasingly used my medical professionals such as myself. Using the internet, I have access to an enormous database of medical knowledge which can point me towards the appropriate clinical diagnostics needed for confirmation. I can also send patient data to fellow professionals for a second opinion. Patients can educate themselves as to the risk factors and likely outcomes of specific conditions which have been confirmed, with a view to adjusting their lifestyle accordingly."
RDoctor software is not a substitute for medical professional advice or expertise. Moreover, to find signs and symptoms of diseases, any physical exam must be performed by trained medical personnel. On line version of Symptomat is a tool to suspect and narrow the list of the probable causes for the patient's set of signs and symptoms. The idea is to avoid missing valuable clues.
RDoctor also develops the system to become useful in remote areas where experts are in short supply or unavailable.
To sign for free RDoctor on-line service visit http://www.rdoctor.com or [http://www.symptomat.com]
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