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Self-Reported Time to Diagnosis and Proportions of Rediagnosis in Female Patients with Chronic Conditions in Australia: A Cross-sectional Survey
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-08, 03:28 authored by L Merone, K Tsey, D Russell, A Daltry, Catherine NagleCatherine Nagle
Background: The diagnosis of chronic conditions in women is complicated by the historical androcentricity in medical research. Sex and gender gaps in health research may translate to unequal healthcare for women. This cross-sectional survey study aimed to ascertain the median time to diagnosis, proportions of rediagnosis and time to rediagnosis for Australian women with chronic conditions. Methods: An online survey collected anonymous data from voluntary participants. Data were analyzed using Stata14. Cox Proportional Hazards model was used to analyze time to diagnosis and rediagnosis. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the significance of rediagnosis rates by diagnosis, age at diagnosis, income, employment, state of residence, disability status, and Indigenous status. Results: The median time from first appointment to initial diagnosis was 6 months (range 1 day–50 years) (interquartile range [IQR] 3.74 years). The median time to rediagnosis was 4 years (IQR 9) with a range of 1 day–43 years. Almost half of the women (n = 161/343, 47%) reported their primary condition being rediagnosed. From the complete responses, 40% were rediagnosed from one organic condition to another organic condition, however, 32% of women originally diagnosed with psychological, medically unexplained syndromes, or chronic pain were later rediagnosed with organic conditions. Conclusion: Median wait times for a diagnosis for women in Australia, when factoring in high rates of rediagnosis and time to rediagnosis, was 4 years. It is important that clinicians are aware of the high rediagnosis rates in female patients with chronic conditions and understand the potential impact of systemic biases on the diagnostic process for women under their care.