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Medical Industry Uses “Secret Shopper” Routine: Errors Revealed

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Dr. Saul Weiner realized, after having an elderly patient with rapid weight loss which presented as cancer but turned out to be from homelessness, that there is a shortcoming in the medical field. He calls them, “‘contextual errors,’ or the failure by doctors to consider an individual’s social or economic circumstances when diagnosing illness or prescribing treatment,” reports The Los Angeles Times.

Weiner decided to conduct a study using the “secret shopper” method. He would disguise several doctors as patients participating in a medical study. These sessions were audiotaped. It was the largest “mystery doctor” study on record.

According to the study, when a diagnosis involved a socioeconomic factor, the error rate was 78 percent. Weiner says this a wake-up call to doctors. They need to be asking the right questions and be able to speak in the same simple language of their patients. They also need to have a list of social services on hand.

Medical errors can leave you seriously hurt or sick. If you or someone you know has suffered as the result of a medical error, contact a Lake Geneva Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Habush Habush &  Rottier, S.C., by dialing 1-800-2-HABUSH.