Practice Improvement Tools

A Repository of Tools in Use

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has as a strategic priority, engaging patients, clinicians, and healthcare systems to improve current diagnostic performance and reduce harm from diagnostic error.

SIDM is working to create a repository of current diagnostic practice improvement tools in use by systems throughout the country. While SIDM does not endorse any of these tools, we hope they offer practical insights and ideas as you consider strategies to drive improvement efforts in your home institution. They can offer an initial framework as you consider practice improvement strategies.

For each tool we share: feasibility for other systems, implementation requirements, post-implementation status, limitations, cost, and sustainability.

Do you have a practice improvement tool you are using to improve diagnostic quality and safety? Please share it with us at

Open Notes

Open Notes addresses multiple aspects of diagnostic error reduction including scheduling a referral discussed in a note. It also addresses improving communication between a patient and physician and correcting inaccurate information in the medical records.

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The SureNet program identifies test results or symptoms/signs that generally require follow up but the patients do not appear to have had the needed follow up. It potentially prevents diagnostic errors by preventing patients from “falling through the cracks."

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Diagnostic Algorithm

Use of the diagnostic algorithm standardizes the approach to diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess. An organization can reduce the variability in the threshold for suspecting and deciding to pursue diagnostic imaging in patients with back pain.

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An organization identifies cases that are potentially diagnostic errors and has individuals (often diagnosticians or multiple reviews) use a structured approach (SaferDx) tool to review diagnostic errors once they are identified.

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Practice Improvement Efforts

By engaging patients, clinicians, and healthcare systems to improve current diagnostic performance, SIDM is working to reduce harm from diagnostic error.