Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine Recognizes Leaders in the Field

Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality Award & Champions for Diagnostic Quality Announced

(November 12, 2019) Washington, DC - The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) today announced that Gordon Schiff, MD has been named recipient of the Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality Award. In addition, the team at the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-AZ) were also recognized as SIDM Champions for Better Diagnosis. The awards were presented today at the Diagnostic Error in Medicine 12th Annual International Conference.

According to the 2015 NAM report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, missed, wrong, or delayed diagnoses are the most common, catastrophic, and costly of serious medical errors and affect more than 12 million Americans each year. Conservative estimates find 40,000-80,000 people die each year from diagnostic failures in U.S. hospitals alone, and that such errors affect 1 in 20 outpatient adults annually. Research released this year by SIDM found that one third (34%) of malpractice cases that result in death or permanent disability stem from an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis.

Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality Award

Dr. Schiff was honored for his stellar career in the field of diagnostic quality. Dr. Schiff is a general internist and the Associate Director of the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, Division of General Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He is also Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Quality and Safety Director at Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. Dr. Schiff has made seminal contributions in research, practice improvement, education, and patient engagement to reduce diagnostic error.

“Gordy has clearly been a thought leader in the field of diagnostic quality and safety for at least a quarter century, and his individual contributions are substantial, including error definitions and taxonomy, the design of electronic health record systems to optimize diagnosis, and the critical importance of feedback to improving diagnosis in clinical practice,” said David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, President of SIDM and Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he serves as Director of the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence.

The Mark L. Graber Diagnostic Quality award is given to a person, group, or organization that has made important contributions to the reduction of diagnostic error. The award recognizes either a total body of work (“lifetime achievement”) or a significant contribution in the field and is named in honor of Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP, SIDM Founder.

“Gordy’s scientific work has established a critical foundation for the entire field of inquiry into categories and causes of diagnostic error. In 2005 he published the DEER Taxonomy – revolutionizing the way we analyze and understand errors in diagnosis. The taxonomy identifies what went wrong and situates where in the diagnostic process failures occurred. His landmark 2009 paper offering a detailed analysis of 583 physician-reported diagnostic errors has been cited over 400 times and is required reading for all newcomers to the field,” added Newman-Toker. “Gordy’s impact has been magnified through the many collaborative projects he has led, working with clinicians, patients, nurses, students, risk managers, lawyers, pharmacists, and anyone interested in improving diagnosis. Those he has mentored have contributed greatly to the field as well. His is a lasting legacy in scholarly research, partnership, and leadership in diagnostic quality.”

Champions for Better Diagnosis

SIDM’s 2019 Champion for Better Diagnosis Award recipients are being recognized for their exemplary work to elevate diagnostic quality and safety as a research priority within federal health agencies.

“Despite the enormous human and financial toll of diagnoses that are missed, wrong, or delayed, less than .02% of federal health-related research funding is focused on solving this problem,” said Paul Epner, CEO of SIDM. “AHRQ and the Congressional leaders we are honoring recognize the value and importance of an increased investment in diagnostic safety research and the need for a coordinated effort among all the federal agencies charged with improving healthcare quality and safety.”

Gopal Khanna, Director of AHRQ and Jeff Brady, MD, Director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, who accepted the award on behalf of the AHRQ team, called improving diagnosis a vital patient safety frontier in a blog post earlier this year. They noted that “diagnostic error, regardless of its cause, is a serious and complex problem that demands attention” and have committed to “develop, test, and disseminate tools to apply promising new strategies at the point of care to improve diagnosis.”

The Awards were announced at a luncheon during the Diagnostic Error in Medicine Conference. The luncheon was sponsored by Teladoc Health.


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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