Consensus Curriculum on Diagnosis

Transforming medical education

About the Project

Diagnosis is one of the most difficult and complex tasks in health care. Error in diagnosis is a system-wide issue that has received little national attention, yet affects roughly 12 million Americans each year in outpatient settings alone. In a seminal report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) made eight recommendations on how to improve diagnosis. One of the top recommendations was to improve the education of all healthcare providers. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) led this three-year project to begin turning the NAM recommendations into action.

With support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, SIDM convened an inter-professional group of education experts to develop consensus recommendations regarding diagnosis education. The group included representatives from internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, nursing, pharmacy, laboratory sciences, and radiology, along with patients and students. Based on a comprehensive literature review and a series of consensus-building meetings, the group found that most schools in the healthcare professions did not provide sufficient content on the diagnostic process, or on diagnostic quality and safety, and produced a set of key products and recommendations. The group began the process to develop a curriculum to improve diagnosis by improving education.

The Curriculum to Improve Diagnosis is organized into three overall domains: Individual, System-Related, and Team-Based. The framework includes generic competency concepts applicable to each member of the interprofessional team, and we believe they should be adapted to each profession’s specific roles.

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Driver Diagram

A major conclusion was that improving education could provide an effective approach to improving diagnosis, clearly in line with the mandate from the National Academy. The driver diagram identifies 5 pathways through which education can ultimately improve the diagnostic process.

Competencies & Learning Objectives

The project's consensus group agreed on a set of 12 key competencies to improve diagnosis. For each of the 12 competencies, key learning objectives are outlined, with extensive references to help with content development.

Milestones for Assessing Competency

Assessing competency in each area can be facilitated by using milestones. Download the milestone rubrics to evaluate learners in each of the individual, system-based, and team-based competencies. 

multicultural students and teacher walking on street near medical university

Who's Using the Curriculum?

Learn more about the different sites engaging in the Macy Learning Collaborative and a description of their projects.