Performance Improvement Opportunity

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Update: Due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our nation and the health care community, we are postponing the launch of the Collaborative until a later date. Please check here for updates.

The Collaborative is a joint effort of Constellation and the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) focused on improving the diagnostic process during two of the three key stages of the diagnostic process; tests and results processing and follow-up and coordination.

Why diagnostic error? Let’s start with the big a-ha

Diagnostic errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year, and likely cause more harm to patients than all other medical errors combined. With almost half of Constellation diagnosis-related malpractice claims involving follow-up system failures, analysis reveals that accurate and timely diagnosis depends nearly as much on the health care team and systems as it does on the diagnosticians themselves. Investing time and resources in re-engineering diagnostic workflows, implementing reliable HIT systems and boosting communication processes creates stronger care teams, increases efficiency and productivity and improves the diagnostic process.

For the purposes of this Collaborative, we will focus on closing the loop on the diagnostic process beginning with the transmission and receipt of a test result (step 8 in the graphic) and ending with the patient and provider establishing a follow-up plan (step 12). In the stages of test/result processing and follow-up/coordination, there are multiple opportunities to improve the diagnostic process, including but not limited to: tracking receipt of reports on all tests ordered, improving the timeliness of action on results, clinician follow-up with the patient about results, referral/consult management, and patient information communicated among the care team.


Who should join?

Clinic, hospital, or health system teams interested in improving the diagnostic process (steps 8-12) in your organization. Quality improvement (QI) teams could include physicians, quality and safety leaders, department managers, nursing, lab or HIT personnel.

The Collaborative will use an Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) learning model for QI Collaboratives including virtual educational sessions, time for workflow improvement, and data collection and reporting. By June 2021, through a series of webinars, coaching calls, and in-person meetings, participants should be able to show improvement in a QI project aimed at closing the loop on diagnostic error.

What's in it for you?

  • Reduction in patient harm, inefficiencies and financial burdens
  • Enhanced market reputation
  • Virtual community: a SIDM managed virtual community for the Collaborative to share work, update on progress, raise questions, and join conversations in a forum
  • QI Coach OR QI Advisor to spend time with each team to:
    • Identify high-leverage change ideas and test them using Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles
    • Plan and troubleshoot how to develop, test, and implement changes
    • Assess whether positive changes are sustainable using statistical analysis
    • Develop a plan for the “scale and spread” of positive changes
  • Educational webinars: 60-90-minute webinars led by national experts on topics ranging from the complexities and difficulties of conducting QI in this space given the current constraints facing the diagnostic error field to learning how to meaningfully engage patients and family members in the diagnostic process and patient safety efforts
  • In-person meetings to foster peer-to-peer learning and networking with local and national peers working to reduce diagnostic errors

How to join?

Submit an email to by September 30, 2020. Early applicants will be given priority as space is limited.

The application e-mail should include:

  1. Organization name and address where the project will be implemented
  2. Name of the QI project lead and contact information
  3. Name and title of the executive sponsor
  4. Brief description of the QI project. (e.g. Tests pending after discharge from the emergency department, incidental image findings, specialty referral/consult management, outstanding test results in the EHR, critical test result communication, revised report management, patient communication of test results).
  5. Agree in writing to the participation fee of $2,000. Please note, there is limited availability of a $1,500 grant per organization to offset the participation fee. Please indicate in your e-mail if you are applying for the grant.

Participants will collect and submit data through the virtual community. Participants’ aggregate progress data will be shared on monthly calls among participants for improvement purposes. The data will not be shared publicly except in aggregate at the conclusion of the project in a results summary call. No patient protected health information will be collected in this project. Results from the project will be promoted by SIDM and Constellation. These efforts will include seeking national presentations and publication.

Healthcare workers collaborating on a project

What's required of you?

  • Payment of the Collaborative participation fee, minus any grant money awarded. You will be invoiced prior to the start of the Collaborative
  • Join the Virtual Community once you’ve received the confirmation “Welcome” email
  • Willingness to make changes in workflows to improve diagnostic accuracy
  • QI team and a designated staff member to serve as the team lead
  • Commitment from team lead to participate in:
    • Virtual community discussion
    • (1) individual organization 30-min intro call
    • (6-8) 90-min monthly group calls to discuss project progress
    • (4) 90-min group quarterly calls to discuss progress sustainability
    • (5) educational webinars
    • (3) in-person meetings in June 2020, October 2020 and June 2021
  • Submission of online monthly progress reports with data and a one-page summary report at the end of the QI project
  • Participation in Constellation and/or SIDM publication or presentation promotions about the Collaborative and the individual QI projects

Important Dates

Sign-up deadline September 30, 2020
Kick-off meeting TBD
Intro calls TBD
Monthly group calls TBD
Quarterly calls TBD
Webinars TBD
2020 SIDM QI Summit TBD
End of project meeting TBD

About Constellation
Constellation is a growing portfolio of medical professional liability insurance and partner companies formed in response to the ever-changing realities of health care and dedicated to reducing risk and supporting physicians and care teams, thereby improving business results. Visit to learn more and follow us on Twitter.

About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)
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.

Join Today

Get involved in improving diagnostic quality and safety. Join the Constellation and SIDM Collaborative today.