Improving patient experiences in healthcare
Syndromic Testing

Improving patient experiences in healthcare

Accuracy and speed are essential in the modern treatment of patients with infectious illnesses. A delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis can be the difference between successful treatment and poor outcomes. Diagnosis is the first step to swift treatment decisions and sets the tone for the rest of the recovery process. In this article, we’ll explore the vital role a prompt and precise diagnosis plays in the healthcare system and its influence on patient experience.

Benefits of fast, accurate diagnosis

The initial diagnosis of a patient with an infectious disease is a critical first step in the treatment plan. It is the cornerstone on which the entire treatment plan for a patient is built (1). When the right diagnosis is determined quickly, it prevents the need for additional testing (2). Additional testing not only wastes the time and resources of the medical institution, but it delays the patient’s recovery, putting more emotional and physical strain on them (3).

Just as additional testing wastes the time of the institution, it can also increase the patient’s hospital length of stay (2). When healthcare professionals can quickly identify the cause of an infectious illness, they can start appropriate treatment plans without delay. This expedited approach often results in patients recovering faster, thereby shortening their hospital stay (3).

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is often where patients face life-threatening conditions that require meticulous care and precise management. In such a high-stakes environment where conditions can deteriorate quickly, the difference between life and death can hinge upon the speed and accuracy of a diagnosis. Research conducted on respiratory illnesses—often a critical concern in ICUs—demonstrated that not only did rapid diagnosis decrease the length of a patient's stay in the hospital, but it also notably reduced ICU mortality rates (1).

Enhanced patient care and satisfaction

Most people who don’t work in the healthcare sector are not a fan of hospitals. They conjure up images of sick people in a sterile environment away from their families, friends and the other enjoyable aspects of their lives. So, despite being an important place for healing and recovery, it is not somewhere people want to spend extended periods.

Beyond the obvious desire to return to the comfort and normalcy of their home, prolonged hospital stays can lead to increased psychological stress, a higher risk of hospital-acquired infections and escalating medical costs for patients (2). A quick recovery can significantly boost the overall patient experience, reducing the anxiety and discomfort that often come with extended hospital admissions, minimize potential disruptions to a patient's personal and professional life, reduce exposure to potential hospital-acquired conditions, and decrease the financial burden associated with prolonged medical care (4).

Risks of delayed and incorrect diagnosis

Timing and accuracy are two critical players in ensuring effective patient treatment. A delayed diagnosis can postpone the start of vital therapies, often worsening the prognosis and hampering treatment effectiveness (5,6). This delay can be detrimental, especially for conditions that require immediate intervention. However, the consequences of an incorrect diagnosis can be equally, if not more, severe. Wrong diagnoses not only prevent healthcare professionals from determining the true root cause of the illness, but also lead to potentially harmful treatments that can exacerbate the patient's condition (5,6).

Operational efficiency and cost savings from accurate diagnosis

From the healthcare system's viewpoint, redundant or non-essential tests tie up valuable resources, and this is often what occurs when an inaccurate diagnosis is reached. Equipment, personnel time and facilities that could be allocated to other pressing needs are instead used for re-evaluations and additional testing (7). Furthermore, these follow-up tests, if they uncover complications or errors from the initial diagnosis, can lead to increased hospital admissions. Complications and errors from the initial diagnosis could include administering the wrong medication leading to adverse side effects. This is not only costly but also strains an already burdened healthcare infrastructure. This can potentially lead to longer wait times and reduced care quality for other patients (7).


A precise and quick diagnosis isn’t just nice to have in healthcare – it’s a necessity. Diagnosis has a profound impact on all aspects of the healthcare system, ranging from reducing the need for follow-up tests, to decreasing hospital admissions, to saving costs, and most importantly, improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. Delays or inaccuracies can set off a chain reaction of ineffective treatments, unnecessary tests, increased hospital stays and heightened patient distress (5–7). Ensuring that effective diagnostics remain a focus will pave the way for a brighter, more efficient and patient-centered future in healthcare.


  1. Brendish NJ, Malachira AK, Armstrong L, et al. Lancet Respir Med. 2017;5(5):401-411. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(17)30120-0
  2. Hansen LH, Nissen KD, Pedersen A, Mogensen CB, Skjøt-Arkil H. Acta Paediatr. 2022;111(11):2195-2202. doi:10.1111/apa.16508
  3. Fluitman KS, van Galen LS, Merten H, et al. Eur J Intern Med. 2016;30:18-24. doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2016.01.005
  4. McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, et al. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(26):2635-2645. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa022615
  5. Singh H, Meyer AN, Thomas EJ. BMJ Qual Saf. 2014;23(9):727-731. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002627
  6. Jena AB, Seabury S, Lakdawalla D, Chandra A. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(7):629-636. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1012370
  7. Chang HY, Keyhani S, Sun BC. Acad Emerg Med. 2017;24(3):294-305. doi:10.1111/acem.13147