Dr. Jana Burson explores the idea of “diagnostic overshadowing” presented by an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. She urges advocates of Medication Assisted Treatment to remain patient, yet persistent in educating their healthcare colleagues to help eliminate this stigma.

In the JAMA article, the authors describe several examples of this bias, including at least one electronic medical record (EMR) system that includes an icon shaped like an airplane, as a way to inform treating physicians that the patient is a “frequent flyer.” This term has long been used to describe patients who repeatedly come to emergency departments or other providers on a regular basis and reinforces the stigma association with substance misuse leading to inadequate care.


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