5 Questions with DEM2019 Conference Chair Michael Kanter, MD

Michael Kanter

Michael Kanter

The Diagnostic Error in Medicine 12th Annual International Conference (DEM2019) will take place in Washington, D.C. from November 10–13, 2019, focusing on the theme of Shaping Policy, Improving Practice. In this interview, DEM2019 Chair Michael Kanter, MD, shares his history with SIDM and the DEM conference, along with what you should be ready to do when you leave Capitol Hill this November.

SIDM: What are you hoping this year’s DEM theme of Shaping Policy, Improving Practice means to attendees?

Michael: This year’s theme is relevant to anyone who wants to improve diagnostic quality. We all want to support change that improves diagnosis; whether that be change in the practice space that decreases diagnostic error, or a change in policy that supports clinicians and patients in coming to an accurate and timely diagnosis, both are equally important in improving diagnosis and decreasing diagnostic error. It is also important that we do something to influence or affect the change we hope to see. DEM2019 is the ideal opportunity to influence policy in a very real way, especially during the Afternoon on Capitol Hill event.

SIDM: What is your history with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) and the Diagnostic Error in Medicine Annual International Conference (DEM)?

Michael: I heard about the DEM conference approximately 7 years ago, and I’ve been to every conference since then. After my first DEM conference, I became interested in diagnostic error and began to research the topic, and I discovered that it directly impacted my work overseeing quality. This discovery sparked my interest and subsequent involvement with SIDM as this topic was not discussed in-depth elsewhere in medicine at that time.

SIDM: What keeps you coming back to the DEM conference each year?

Michael: DEM’s multi-disciplinary approach provides a rich variety of interactive opportunities for attendees to learn about all aspects of diagnosis in medicine, and knowing that there is new research, innovations, and information to absorb each year is inspiring. In addition, the dedication of attendees to create dialogue around improving diagnosis and their commitment to implementing the changes discussed is a big motivator for my attendance. This year, DEM will showcase innovative strategies to measure diagnostic quality and introduce it to practice- and system-level patient safety programs; a new medical education curriculum developed with leaders in academic medicine; the latest in diagnostic quality research and the thinking of federal health care research funding agencies; the potential contributions, risks, and oversight of artificial intelligence and other new technologies that may contribute to better diagnostic performance; the power of patients as change-agents; opportunities for laboratory and radiology professionals to partner in the diagnostic process; and a conversation with regulators about everybody’s pain-point – the electronic health record – and how it can better support clinicians and patients in achieving an accurate and timely diagnosis.

SIDM: What is one thing you hope DEM2019 attendees will walk away from the conference ready to do?

Michael: I hope that everyone leaving DEM2019 will have a personal plan for how they are going to take specific steps when they get home that support change in their institution or organization that will improve diagnosis.

SIDM: Is there anything else you’d like to share about SIDM or DEM2019?

Michael: This year’s DEM conference offers the unique opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and directly influence policy, and I hope people take advantage of this. I am looking forward to collaborating and connecting with colleagues from around the world at this unique event on the prevalent issue that is diagnostic error. I’ll leave you with this: We have to do something about diagnostic error and we have to do it quickly—the time for thinking is gone and now is the time for action.

Registration for DEM2019 is now open! Register by September 13, 2019 to receive the early registration discount.