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Lengthy Neurological Diagnosis Delay May Impact Patients, Survey Shows

According to a new survey, some patients with major neurological diseases believe they were not properly diagnosed for more than a year, potentially leading to patient anxiety, unnecessary or inappropriate treatments, delays in appropriate care, and added costs to the global healthcare system. The opinion survey examined the impact of diagnosis delays in the most prominent neurological disorders: Alzheimer’s (AD), Parkinson’s (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The survey, commissioned by GE Healthcare and conducted by Praxis Research, Inc., reflects opinions of physicians and patients in the US, UK, Germany and France. A total of 240 physicians, consisting of hospital and office-based neurologists and psychiatrists (UK-only) participated. A total of 101 patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease participated.

According to the survey, median times in patient estimates of time to diagnosis from onset of symptoms were seven to 12 months across all disease states. AD was diagnosed fastest, on average (12.7 months), followed by MS (13.6 months) and PD (14.7 months). This time included the time that patients waited (from less than a week to more than a year) before consulting a physician. Physicians who participated in the survey said approximately a third of patients could or should have been diagnosed faster and may suffer unnecessarily as a result of delay.

“It is not acceptable that some patients with progressive neurological disorders have to wait so long before they receive a diagnosis, during which time many face the possibility of receiving the wrong or unnecessary treatment and needing to consult with multiple healthcare professionals, “ said Gabrielle Silver, MD and Head of Neuroscience Marketing at GE Healthcare. “This delay can be stressful to patients, and can also cost the health economy millions of dollars in unnecessary use of resources. Patients and their families should not have to tolerate lengthy delays.”

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