BOSTON – Best Doctors ®, the world’s leading expert medical consultation service, today announced the release of a report detailing the high prevalence, costs, and impact of misdiagnoses and incorrect treatment plans on injured workers. The report uses thousands of injured worker cases to conclude that over half of the most costly five percent of claims contain medical misadventures that seriously compromise the recovery prospects of injured workers and drive up claims costs.
“There is a devastating physical, emotional, and financial toll caused by a misdiagnosis,” said Dr. Lewis Levy, Chief Medical Officer at Best Doctors, and a co-author of the report. “The impact can be even more overwhelming for an injured worker who may experience prolonged disability, household financial distress, and a career in jeopardy.”
Each year, there are an estimated 250,000 serious lost-time injuries, those with over 30-days of lost time at work. The report conservatively estimates that one quarter of them involve a misdiagnosis and/or inappropriate treatment. For the five percent most expensive workers’ compensation claims, the error rate is conservatively estimated at 50 percent. They range from confusing the symptoms of ligament strain with a bulging disc, to inappropriate surgeries and harmful drug interactions.
The financial toll on claims payers is exorbitant. The report determined that the current level of losses, which nationally is about $65 billion, might be some $15 billion less if major medical errors were prevented or promptly remedied.
The report includes four concise case studies of work injuries, which pinpoint problems with medical care and their burden on the workers and claims payers. The case studies were drawn from actual injuries. The report also includes a table showing the rate of diagnostic and treatment changes that occur in American medicine today, detailed by medical specialty common to treating work injuries.
This is the first in-depth report that addresses the full scope of the problem of medical misadventures in workers’ compensation. “If we are serious about addressing both the quality and high cost of healthcare, we as responsible clinical organizations must be much more attentive to this issue,” added Dr. Levy. Best Doctors will follow up with reports on how claims professionals can take into account the risk of problems in making key claims decisions.
About Best Doctors, Inc.:
Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors is a medical information services company that connects individuals facing difficult medical treatment decisions with the best doctors, selected by impartial peer review in over 450 subspecialties of medicine, to review their diagnosis and treatment plans. Best Doctors has grown to over 40 million members worldwide utilizing access to the brightest minds in medicine, analytics and technology to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. For further information, visit Best Doctors at www.bestdoctors.com.
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