New Resources to Address Diagnostic Error - Leveraging Patient Lived-Experiences

Two New Guides Support PFACs as Leaders in Change to Improve Diagnosis

Evanston, IL – (August 25, 2020) The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has released two new guides for hospitals and health systems in reducing harm from diagnostic errors. Each guide leverages the lived-experience, insights and expertise of Patient Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) to help drive change to improve diagnostic quality and safety. The new resources were unveiled at The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC)’s annual international conference at the Boots on the Ground: How Patient and Family Advisors Are Turning Stories of Harm into Positive Change breakout session.

According to the National Academy of Science and Medicine’s seminal report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, it is likely that most of us will experience at least one diagnostic error in our lifetimes, sometimes with devastating consequences. Diagnostic errors affect more than 12 million Americans each year causing nearly 100,000 premature hospital deaths.

PFACs consist of patients and family members who have received care at a hospital or health system who work with hospital leaders to provide guidance on how to improve patient care and safety. PFACs offer an opportunity for hospitals and systems to learn from the patient and family perspective and promote a culture of patient- and family-centered care (PFCC) within an organization.

Each guide is targeted for a specific audience to implement strategies to improve diagnosis in their institutions:

  • Patient and Family Advisory Council Leader’s Guide for Diagnostic Quality and Safety is a compendium of best and promising practices for use by PFAC members and those interested in joining or forming a PFAC. While PFACs work on a variety of quality and safety issues, this guide is focused specifically on an often overlooked, but significant, challenge in health care: diagnostic errors.
  • The Guide for Hospital and Health System Leaders for Diagnostic Quality and Safety focuses uniquely on preparing hospital and health system leaders to partner with patients, families, and PFACs to pursue diagnostic safety and quality improvement activities.

“The lived experience of patients and families is a tremendously rich source of data and learning,” said Suz Schrandt, JD, SIDM’s Senior Patient Engagement Advisor. “Given the growing ubiquity of PFACs, the question is not whether to work with PFACs to tackle diagnostic quality and safety, it is how to do it, and how to do it most efficaciously.”

Both guides were developed based on insights and knowledge shared at a joint SIDM and National Academy of Medicine (NAM) convening held in December 2019 that included PFAC leadership made up of patient and family members impacted by diagnostic error. Recommendations were also developed building upon the work of SIDM and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN)/SIDM Improving Diagnosis in Medicine Change Package.

“SIDM has developed a thoughtful pair of resources for leaders of health systems and for leaders of PFACs,” said Beverley H. Johnson, BSN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. “The parallel format of these documents will facilitate collaboration between patient leaders and hospital and health systems executives which is essential if we are to reduce diagnostic error.”

Both guides were made possible with support from The Mont Fund.


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 to learn more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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