SIDM works to bring awareness to the complexity of diagnostic error and invites solutions to guide policy and private investment aimed at reducing patient harm.
Since the 2015 report, “Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare,” by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, we have known that delayed, missed, and incorrect diagnoses are responsible for the most common, costly, and catastrophic harms in healthcare.
A newly released report, “Diagnostic Error in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review,” authored by investigators at the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center and Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), contributes new data to inform practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and patient advocates working to improve diagnosis. The report outlines that while overall diagnostic accuracy in the emergency department is high, some patients receive an incorrect diagnosis that leads to serious harm—an estimated 7.4 million diagnostic errors and 370,000 deaths or permanent disabilities annually in the United States. Furthermore, the report found that women and people of color are 20 to 30 percent more likely to be misdiagnosed. This discovery challenges us to explore new pathways toward constructing solutions. Considerations of diagnostic equity, delivery of education through patient engagement, improvements to systems of care, new technologies to aid in decision models, and a reduction in patient harm are all foundational pillars of SIDM’s objectives.
Through its convenings, SIDM serves as an essential and unbiased resource where everyone who cares about diagnostic excellence can collaborate, share, and discuss promising interventions and creative solutions to the challenges faced in the pursuit of diagnostic excellence. SIDM has successfully gained the attention of policymakers, and over the past year with funding from Congress, an allocation to AHRQ led to the launch of 10 Diagnostic Safety Centers of Excellence. Congress is poised to commit an additional $20 million focused on diagnostic error in the fiscal year 2023 budget. This is a drop in the bucket when compared to the human and financial costs of diagnostic error, which is estimated to contribute $100 billion in waste to the United States economy. This report underscores the salience of the issue and demands further collaborative action to expand investment in the field. “When new data on diagnostic error emerges, industry leaders and policymakers should focus their energy on learning and funding opportunities to improve diagnosis. Some solutions exist, and others need to be discovered. We can reimagine the current diagnostic processes, interactions, and technologies and make a difference,” said SIDM Board President Doug Salvador, MD, MPH.
With the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and other partners and stakeholders, SIDM continues to work to elevate and bring awareness to the issue of diagnosis–the entry point of the patient’s care pathway. If the diagnosis is inaccurate or delayed, all else that follows may be harmful, wasteful, or both. SIDM invites everyone involved in the healthcare ecosystem to join us in pursuing education, novel technology solutions, standardized measurement, focused training, and better feedback systems. In addition, we can improve workstreams for greater patient safety, reporting methods, and innovative performance monitoring. Increased teamwork and improved strategies that include patient engagement are essential.
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) believes there is hope for alleviating risk and achieving excellence in diagnosis. “As the only organization devoted solely to reducing patient harm from diagnostic error, SIDM envisions a world where no patient is harmed through diagnostic error,” said SIDM CEO Jennie Ward-Robinson, PhD. In the coming weeks and months, SIDM will be organizing panel discussions, webinars, podcasts, and conferences to bring together leading voices working on the future of diagnosis to effect positive change. Please join us and stay informed at improvediagnosis.org.
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 www.ImproveDiagnosis.org to learn more.
Sophie Gibson, VIVO360, Inc., 404 784 4688, firstname.lastname@example.org