Patients’ preferences matter: Stop the silent misdiagnosis

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In this paper Al Mulley and colleagues argue that failure to diagnose patients’ preferences for their care amounts to misdiagnosis, with implications for service usage and patient satisfaction. The paper sets out some approaches to addressing this. 

Written by Al Mulley, The King’s Fund’s first international visiting fellow, and colleagues in The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, this paper challenges the NHS to stop this misdiagnosis and argues that by doing so it will improve not only the service offered to patients but also the performance of the health system as a whole. The central recommendation is that the NHS must measure and report the incidence of preference misdiagnoses. Also, both doctors and patients will need better tools and information.

Addressing the problem of the silent misdiagnosis will require a coordinated effort at all levels of the NHS, including patients, clinicians, commissioners and policy makers. This paper offers suggestions for how that might be achieved; its findings are timely and relevant to all who have the best interests of the patient at heart.

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