Patient Safety – Statement on Common Formats for Reporting Diagnostic Errors

Evanston, IL – (June 11, 2021) Statement by Paul Epner, CEO of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) recently released Common Formats for Event Reporting - Diagnostic Safety (CFER-DS) Version 0.1.

“Inaccurate or delayed diagnoses are the most common, catastrophic and costly of all medical errors, yet diagnostic safety events are rarely documented in clinical settings. Hospitals and health systems lack a standardized method for data collection around these events, limiting visibility into the scale of the problem and making research, quality improvement and patient safety efforts more difficult.

In 2015 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Improving Diagnosis in Health Care and noted that ‘the delivery of healthcare has proceeded for decades with a blind spot: Diagnostic errors…’ and ‘Improving the diagnostic process is not only possible, but it also represents a moral, professional, and public health imperative.’ Despite that clarion call six years ago, we still lack a robust method for tracking diagnostic safety events to support learning and quality improvement.

With the release of AHRQ’s draft Common Formats (CFER-DS), SIDM will lead an important set of activities in partnership with the members of its Coalition to Improve Diagnosis. By convening leaders and facilitating conversations, we will collectively seek to reach consensus on the best way to track, analyze and learn from diagnostic safety events and will encourage adoption and utilization of that consensus.”


About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine 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.

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