Lisa Sanders

Why we need medical diagnosis detectives

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About Lisa Sanders

Board-certified internist and Emmy award-winning producer at CBS News, Lisa Sanders, is author of the popular New York Times Magazine column, “Diagnosis” in which she explores how a doctor is able to make a diagnosis in patients whose baffling symptoms have repeatedly brought them back to the doctor's office or emergency room. Lisa is able to translate the intricacies of medical science and technology into stories that the reader can understand and enjoy. Lisa is featured in the Netflix documentary series called Diagnosis. In the series, Lisa follows eight patients with mysterious symptoms as they search for answers by harnessing the “wisdom of the crowd”. By telling each patient’s story in the pages of the New York Times and inviting readers to share their thoughts and knowledge on the symptoms, she uses crowdsourcing to lead these patients toward a diagnosis. Lisa was also a consultant for the hit TV series, “House M.D.,” which was based on her column.

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About This Talk

Today, 30 million Americans suffer from rare diseases, and it takes an average of 6 years to unlock these diagnoses. But Diagnosis Detective, Lisa Sanders, suggests that it's not just rare diseases that we diagnose incorrectly. Diagnostic error is a large scale problem that costs numerous lives each year. So what do we do about it? Lisa shares that increased training, feedback, and specialization in medicine are the keys to improving diagnostic accuracy. She also looks to Sherlock Holmes for a new approach, suggesting that doctors should look at each new case through a detective's lens - with all evidence in front of them - rather than making a decision based on familiarity. In doing so, we can improve diagnoses, provide accurate treatments, and save lives.

Watch Lisa Sanders’ 2020 TEDMED Talk, “Why we need medical diagnosis detectives”, to learn how a Sherlock Holmes approach to medicine could shape the future of diagnoses for rare diseases and beyond.

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