Improving Testing Accuracy for Better Health Outcomes

In the latest issue of ACT Update, Coalition to Improve Diagnosis member AACC discusses diagnostic testing, improving quality and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ways to prevent misinterpretation and misdiagnosis.

Missed and Delayed Diagnoses of Non-COVID Conditions

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unknown number of missed or delayed diagnoses for non-COVID conditions. One physician says this collateral damage is "one of the yet-to-be-told stories of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Doctor wearing mask

Diagnosis and Telemedicine – What are the Important Research Questions?

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the usage of telemedicine overnight, establishing it as a mainstay for healthcare delivery and diagnosis. A new project convened by SIDM, funded by PCORI, will bring together a multi-stakeholder group to make recommendations on the research most needed by the field.

Call for Nominations: Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality Award

Do you know a person, group, or organization who has made an important contribution to the reduction of diagnostic error? Submit your nomination by September 1, 2020.

Mark L. Graber

Testing oversight

After finding a small lump on her breast, Sandra Kaus completed a mammogram and was told if she did not hear back, all was well. One year later, she would face a devastating delayed diagnosis caused by an initial testing oversight.

2020-2021 Fellows in Diagnostic
Excellence Announced

SIDM is proud to announce seven new Fellows in Diagnostic Excellence. The 2020-2021 awardees will work on innovative projects focused on improving diagnostic quality and safety.

Post-surgery discovery

After giving birth to twins and undergoing a hysterectomy, Sarah Kiehl experienced large amounts of drainage from the surgical site. While she was assured this was normal, Sarah was actually showing initial signs of sepsis.

One in 10 Patients with a ‘Big Three’
Disease Misdiagnosed

One in 10 people (9.6%) with symptoms caused by a major vascular event, infection, or cancer will be misdiagnosed, according to a study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CRICO Strategies.

There Are Flaws in Our Nation's
Diagnostic Capabilities

Diagnostic errors are not unique to COVID-19. Now is the time to improve diagnostic accuracy. Read more about the diagnostic lessons we can learn in a new article by SIDM CEO Paul L. Epner published in The Hill.

Coalition Members Respond to COVID-19

Many of our Coalition to Improve Diagnosis members are on the front lines working diligently to test and diagnose patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to provide timely and useful information regarding COVID-19, our members have developed a wide range of resources, including toolkits, live chats, webinars, community groups and more.


SIDM shares concerns about the global threat of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As with any disease, reaching a timely and accurate explanation of a patient’s symptoms is critical to achieving the outcomes that matter to patients. For information about coronavirus and direction on what clinicians and the general public should do, please see guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities.

Creating a world where no patients are harmed by diagnostic error.

SIDM catalyzes and leads change to improve diagnosis and eliminate harm from diagnostic error, in partnership with patients, their families, the healthcare community and every interested stakeholder.


Patients and family members have a significant opportunity to contribute to diagnostic accuracy and timeliness by actively participating in the diagnostic process. But often, they don't know the questions to ask, the information to offer, or the steps to take to improve diagnosis.

Clinical Teams

Every member of the clinical team has a role to play in ensuring that diagnoses are accurate, timely and communicated to the patient. SIDM offers resources for clinical team members to improve cognitive skills and work within their health systems to improve the diagnostic process.

Medical Educators

Improving diagnosis requires continued investment in medical education, leveraging trainees, practitioners, and educators to address gaps in the system and focus on the teams that contribute to accurate and timely diagnostics. SIDM's resources for medical educators examine clinical reasoning and system factors that underlie diagnostic error, and offer tools and strategies to to bring diagnostic quality and safety into the medical education curriculum.


Whether you're an established researcher or just joining the diagnostic error research community, SIDM offers a variety of resources to help advance research efforts in the field. Explore existing literature, engage with your peers, and join the conversation as we work to foster the growth of the research community.


Despite the fact that diagnostic error likely accounts for more patient harm than all other medical errors combined, federal investment in research to improve diagnosis amounts to about $7 million per year, or just .02% of the total $35 billion federal health research budget. Learn how you can support efforts to expand funding for research.

1 in 3

One-third of malpractice cases that result in death or permanent disability stem from an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis, making it the number one cause of serious harms among medical errors.

*Research published in Diagnosis


Diagnostic errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year, and likely cause more harm to patients than all other medical errors combined.

*Research published in BMJ Quality & Safety

Roughly 40,000‐80,000 deaths in U.S. hospitals each year can be attributed to diagnostic error. It’s about the same number of people who die annually from breast cancer or diabetes.

*From Improving Diagnosis in Health Care

Programs & Initiatives

Explore how we're helping improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis.

Transforming Medical Education

With support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, SIDM led a three year Consensus Curriculum project to define the key interprofessional competencies required for diagnostic quality and safety.

Collaborating to Improve Diagnosis

The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis is comprised of 50+ healthcare organizations working to find solutions that enhance diagnostic quality and safety, reduce harm and ultimately, ensure better health outcomes for patients.

Closing the Loop on Diagnostic Error

A new collaborative between Constellation and SIDM focuses on improving the diagnostic process during two of the three key stages of the diagnostic process; tests and results processing and follow-up and coordination.

In the News

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Improving Testing Accuracy for Better Health Outcomes

Coalition to Improve Diagnosis member AACC has developed tools that make diagnostic testing easier to understand to prevent misinterpretation and misdiagnosis. Learn more about their work and newly developed COVID-19 testing resources in the latest issue of ACT Update.

Female middle-aged doctor using stethoscope to examine patient.

WomenHeart Receives $100,000 PCORI Engagement Award

WomenHeart recently received a $100,000 grant through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program. Working with SIDM, WomenHeart will use the funds to develop a convening to address missed and delayed diagnosis of heart disease in women.

A young woman receiving healthcare through video call

Diagnosis and Telemedicine – Important Research Questions

SIDM has been approved for a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award. The award, part of the PCORI Special Cycle: Supporting Engagement in and Dissemination of PCOR/CER in the Context of COVID-19 funding, will address research needs around the growing field of virtual visits and telediagnosis.

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Call for Nominations: Mark L. Graber Dignostic Quality Award

Do you know a person, group, or organization who has made an important contribution to the reduction of diagnostic error? You can now nominate them for the Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality Award, which recognizes either a total body of work (“lifetime achievement”) or a significant contribution in the field.

Doug Salvador and Ann Gaffey

SIDM Announces New Board Members

SIDM is proud to announce that Doug Salvador, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School- Baystate and Ann Gaffey, RN, MSN, CPHRM, DFASHRM, President, Healthcare Risk and Safety Strategies, LLC have joined the SIDM Board of Directors.

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2020-2021 Fellows in Diagnostic Excellence Announced

The 2020-2021 Fellowship in Diagnostic Excellence awardees will work on innovative projects focused on improving diagnostic quality and safety. Meet the seven new fellows and learn about their research focus areas.

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Why the Color of Your Skin Can Affect the Quality of Your Diagnosis

If you are a patient of color, especially if you’re of African ancestry, your chances of misdiagnosis are greater than white patients’, and you have higher odds of suffering greater harm from diagnostic errors.

DxQI Seed Grant Program

SIDM has established the DxQI Seed Grant Program to engage healthcare organizations in efforts to identify, develop, and test interventions aimed at improving diagnostic quality and reducing harm from diagnostic error.

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