Washington, March 31, 2022 — The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) applauds the increased funding for research and quality improvement to reduce the tremendous human and financial toll of missed, wrong, or delayed diagnosis proposed in President Biden’s budget proposal. Studies show that some 12 million Americans annually experience a diagnostic error, sometimes with devastating consequences and that these errors contribute $100 billion in waste to the system.
The President's Budget proposal would provide $10 million to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish Diagnostic Safety Centers of Excellence. This is a continuation and commitment to an increase of $10 million in annual funding for these activities that became law on March 15, 2022, via the FY 2022 omnibus spending measure.
“The message is clear from both the White House and Congress: eliminating diagnostic error is a top priority. SIDM commends both the White House and the bipartisan congressional agreement for hearing that message and embracing this critical funding.
“The President’s budget recognizes and responds to growing awareness among health care quality and patient safety leaders and advocates of the foundational role that accurate and timely diagnosis plays in a safe, equitable, high-value health care system,” said Dr. Ward-Robinson.
“In fact, research suggests that this previously under-recognized patient safety issue has a public health impact greater than all other healthcare-associated harms combined. SIDM remains committed to continued growth in awareness, funding, and public policies that can minimize patient harms brought about by diagnostic error,” she said.
The AHRQ funding will be used to develop, implement, test, and refine practical solutions for reducing diagnostic errors using human factors, system engineering, and digital health applications. This increase will also support the evaluation, refinement, and dissemination of evidence-based tools and resources to clinicians, patients, healthcare organizations, and system designers. Diagnosis is often a complex, unfolding process, and accuracy is influenced by many factors -- the availability of clinical expertise, the correct ordering and interpretation of tests, the usability of electronic medical records, the level of patient engagement, and, increasingly, newer technology-based decision supports such as AI/machine learning, among others.
Accurate and timely diagnosis is the sine qua non of a high-value health care system -- if the diagnosis is wrong, all else that follows is either harm, waste, or both. How best to support clinicians and patients to get to a timely, accurate diagnosis should be a primary “use case” across federal health agency policy and program development activities. SIDM applauds the leadership of AHRQ in moving diagnosis to the front and center of patient safety where it belongs. Congress already has demonstrated its commitment to this issue in the FY 22 appropriations, and we urge continued funding for this crucial work going forward that is on par with its significance to patients, their families, and the providers and health systems who care for them.
About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
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. Members of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis represent hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers, patients, and leading healthcare systems and organizations. Together we work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic safety and quality, reduce harm, and ultimately, ensure better outcomes for patients.
Contact: Shelia Buchanan (firstname.lastname@example.org)