Dozens of DEM2019 Attendees Visit Capitol Hill

DEM attendees visit Capitol Hill

This past November, more than 70 attendees at the Diagnostic Error in Medicine 12th Annual International Conference (DEM2019) met with Capitol Hill representatives from their home state delegations to educate them about the harm caused by diagnostic error and the need to support research and other approaches to improving diagnostic quality and safety.

The Diagnostic Quality Hill Day took place on the last day of the conference and began with a training session that covered the essentials on how to have effective meetings with busy legislators and/or their staff, including a presentation modeling how to concisely and powerfully present the key facts and compelling statistics that demonstrate the importance governmental action to improve diagnostic quality.

The groups then went to the Capitol to conduct more than 60 meetings with staff or members of Congress. For example, attendees from the Chicago area met with Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Danny Davis (R-IL), while the Philadelphia contingent met with Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Alaska participants discussed diagnostic quality with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

DEM attendees visit Capitol Hill

“This is the first time the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) brought leaders committed to improving diagnosis to meet directly with members of Congress,” said Leslie Tucker, senior policy advisor at SIDM. “We hope that by increasing awareness of the problem and suggesting areas of opportunity, we can motivate Congress to consider public policies that better support and improve diagnostic quality and safety.”

Staffers and legislators were provided information about the human and financial harms from diagnostic error and discussed ideas to drive improvements in diagnostic quality and safety through investments in research, quality measure development, improvements in electronic health records, and development of healthcare payment models that value diagnosis.

The Diagnostic Quality Hill Day was part of the programming at SIDM’s DEM2019 conference. Over 500 attendees convened at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for the conference, breaking attendance records for all previous Diagnostic Error in Medicine conferences. The DEM2019 theme was Shaping Policy, Improving Practice, focusing on ways that patients, health professionals, researchers, and health leaders alike can help design and promote new policies to improve diagnostic quality and safety. Planning is underway for the 2020 conference, which will take place in Minneapolis, MN, with the theme of Transforming Education and Practice to Improve Diagnosis. Look for a new hashtag/abbreviation for this year’s conference: SIDM2020.