Diagnosis and Telemedicine – What are the Important Research Questions?

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine Receives $129,000 PCORI Award for Multi-Stakeholder Effort to Issue Research Recommendations

Evanston, IL – (July 16, 2020) The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has been approved for a $129,612 Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). 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. The project will convene a multi-stakeholder group to examine and issue recommendations on the most important research questions regarding diagnostic quality and telediagnosis in the wake of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the usage of telemedicine overnight, establishing it as a mainstay for healthcare delivery and diagnosis. To navigate this new era of “telediagnosis” research needs to identify the best methods for providing a diagnosis virtually and strategies for patients and clinicians to make effective use of the technology,” said Suzanne Schrandt, Senior Patient Engagement Advisor at SIDM. “Previous research has documented that some uses of telemedicine actually aid in the diagnostic process and mitigate risk of some errors, but it remains to be seen whether broader use of TeleDx will lead to new types of diagnostic errors, reproduce similar errors to those seen in in-person care settings, or perhaps even improve diagnostic accuracy.”

Convened by SIDM, “Learning While We Build: Identifying the Must-Know Research Questions for Safe and Effective Telediagnosis” will bring together a multi-stakeholder group including SIDM’s Patient Engagement Committee, WomenHeart, Sepsis Alliance, The American Telemedicine Association, Advocate Aurora Health, The Council for Medical Specialty Societies, The Digital Medicine Society, Teladoc Health and others to make recommendations on the research most needed by the field. Through an environmental scan of available literature, and a series of virtual listening sessions, the project will identify the TeleDX questions in most critical need of study. Listening session participants will share their insights and ideas about ensuring all interested stakeholders – clinicians, community-based practices, hospitals and health systems, virtual health companies, and patients and caregivers – can most effectively be mobilized and prepared for this important work.

“The rapid and unprecedented adoption of telemedicine, and the more recent recognition that telediagnosis has unique attributes that must be considered within the broader domain of telemedicine, provides us a rare opportunity to learn, in real time, where the biggest gaps in knowledge and practice are”, said Paul Epner, CEO and co-founder of SIDM. “We know diagnostic errors are the most commons, catastrophic and costly of medical errors. Now we need to identify where further research could lead to TeleDx as an improvement strategy for diagnostic excellence.”

The “Learning While we Build” project is part of a portfolio of projects that PCORI has funded to help develop a community of patients and other stakeholders equipped to participate as partners in comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and disseminate PCORI-funded study results. Through the Engagement Award Program, PCORI is creating an expansive network of individuals, communities and organizations interested in and able to participate in, share, and use patient-centered CER.

According to Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer, “This project was selected for Engagement Award funding because it will help their community increase their capacity to participate across all phases of the PCOR/CER process while responding to contextual changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with SIDM throughout the course of their year-long project.”

SIDM’s project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria. Learn more about PCORI’s funding to support engagement efforts.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.


About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) catalyzes and leads change to improve diagnosis and eliminate harm from diagnostic error. We work in partnership with patients, their families, the healthcare community and every interested stakeholder. SIDM is the only organization focused solely on the problem of diagnostic error and improving the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis. In 2015, SIDM established the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, to increase awareness and actions that improve diagnosis. Members of the Coalition represent hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers and patients—and the leading health organizations and government agencies involved in patient care. Together, we work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic safety and quality, reduce harm, and ultimately, ensure better health outcomes for patients. Visit www.improvediagnosis.org to learn more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Diagnosis and Telemedicine

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