Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

How prevalent are false diagnoses of disease?

From the 7 July KevinMd article by 

Recently, we expressed concern about the effects on the accuracy of the diagnostic process of the increasing numbers of well and worried well entering the medical care system.

One of the consequences of this influx of well people (and the concomitant reduction in disease prevalence) is the generation of more false positive test results and false diagnoses of nonexistent diseases.

The medical literature is filled with studies on the accuracy of specific disease diagnoses but the focus has been exclusively on missed diagnoses. These studies have often used autopsy data to discover how many patients died with specific diseases overlooked in life.

While missed diagnoses certainly deserve our attention, the opposite error has been almost completely ignored: How many patients with specific diagnoses of disease do not have the named disease? How prevalent are false diagnoses of disease? And which ones?

We are puzzled that these questions are not only unanswered but seem ignored in the literature.

Read the article

August 1, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , ,

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