From the Field: Update from SIDM

At the end of 2020, the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) unveiled two new resources for the diagnostic quality and safety community and expanded the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis.

Comparative Effectiveness Research Toolkit

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) is conducted by comparing two or more diagnostic, treatment, or prevention options to see which is most effective. Patient engagement is a hallmark of effective CER, but many organizations struggle to create effective patient engagement strategies.

To help organizations include patients in CER, SIDM has released a CER Toolkit derived from learnings shared at its Diagnostic Research Workshop. The toolkit includes a template to help researchers and patients/families formulate CER questions, examples of CER research funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and other materials that support patient-engagement.

The Diagnostic Researcher Workshop was convened by SIDM and funded by PCORI’s Engagement Award Initiative (EAIN-00009).

Mapping the Diagnostic Process

The Diagnostic Process Map is a resource developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) in their 2015 groundbreaking report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. SIDM transformed the diagram into an interactive tool to help in teaching, learning, and improving the diagnostic process. SIDM is also releasing a PowerPoint template that can help users map errors against the National Academies’ diagnostic process diagram and discuss drivers of errors and steps that could prevent future errors.

“Every member of the clinical team, including patients and family, has a role to play in ensuring that diagnoses are accurate, timely, and communicated to the patient,” added Paul Epner, CEO and co-founder of SIDM. “The diagnostic process is a complex and collaborative activity that unfolds over time and occurs within the context of a healthcare system. The Diagnosis Process Map shows typical elements of the diagnostic process, but also recognizes that for some patients, certain steps may be skipped, or the order may be re-arranged. We hope this tool will be useful for patients, educators, researchers, and clinicians as they work to improve diagnostic quality and safety.”

Support for the development of the tool was provided, in part, by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Mont Fund.

Coalition to Improve Diagnosis

SIDM has announced four new members to its Coalition to Improve Diagnosis. Is your organization doing work to reduce harm from diagnostic error? If so, consider joining more than 60 of the nation’s most prominent healthcare organizations working to improve diagnostic quality and safety. For more information, please visit