Four leading healthcare organizations have pledged to take action to improve diagnostic quality and safety by joining the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, Evanston, Ill, which already includes more than 50 of the most prominent organizations in healthcare and patient advocacy. The new members of the coalition are the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Sepsis Alliance, and UCSF Health.
“Diagnostic error is one of the most important safety problems in healthcare today and causes the most patient harm,” says Paul L. Epner, CEO and cofounder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). “While many organizations have diagnostic quality on their radar, it generally is not seen as a top priority. Those who’ve joined the coalition acknowledge that diagnostic quality and safety are vital to improving healthcare.”
Convened and led by SIDM, the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis is the only major confederation of diverse healthcare organizations singularly focused on improving the diagnostic process. The groups work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic quality, improve safety, reduce harm, and ensure better health outcomes for patients.
The new member organizations represent the medical education community, healthcare management, the patient sector, and one of the largest healthcare systems in the country. “Every day, we hear from sepsis survivors who were misdiagnosed, or whose symptoms were ignored, which led to life-threatening results and long-term psychological and physical effects,” says Thomas Heymann, president and executive director, Sepsis Alliance. “We believe that with the combined efforts of the coalition’s membership we can improve diagnosis and patient outcomes, not just for sepsis patients, but for all.”
“We know the importance of diagnostic accuracy and have led team-based efforts to reduce delay,” says Katie Raffel, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCSF Health. “Improving diagnosis, though, requires a team that extends beyond discipline or department. We need multiinstitution teamwork. We feel that our participation in the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis will allow for shared learning across a diversity of sites and expertise.”
In September 2018, the coalition launched ACT for Better Diagnosis by calling on organizations to identify and spread practical steps to better ensure that diagnoses are “accurate, communicated, and timely.” More than 50 organizations now support the effort. They represent clinicians, health systems, patients, researchers, and testing professionals, all acknowledging that improvement will require sustained work over several years with all stakeholders involved. ACT for Better Diagnosis is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Mont Fund.
SIDM is the only organization focused solely on the problem of diagnostic error and improving the accuracy and timeliness of diagnoses. 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 as well as the leading health organizations and government agencies involved in patient care.
For more information see the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.