New Coalition to Tackle Diagnostic Errors in Medicine

Megan Brooks

August 26, 2015

Several medical societies and healthcare organizations, including patient and consumer advocates and government partners, have banded together to address diagnostic errors in medicine through the newly formed Coalition to Improve Diagnosis.

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), a physician-led nonprofit organization, established and will lead the coalition.

"The Coalition will bring much-needed attention, awareness and action to this issue," Paul Epner, MBA, MEd, chair of the coalition and SIDM executive vice president, said in a news release.

"Engaging leading healthcare organizations, professional societies and patients is an essential step in improving the quality of care patients receive and in reducing harm that can result from diagnoses that are inaccurate, missed or inappropriately delayed," Dr Epner said.

Research suggests that an estimated 1 in 20 US adults, or 12 million patients annually, are misdiagnosed. It is a system-wide problem that has received little national attention, according to the SIDM.

"Physicians excel at diagnosis, but errors or delays in reaching the right diagnosis still create harm, and we can do better," Mark L. Graber, MD, SIDM president and founder, said in the release. "The vision of our Society...is to ensure that diagnosis is accurate, timely and efficient. The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis will be the catalyst for changes in practice needed to realize this vision."

The coalition's founding member organizations represent clinicians and other healthcare professionals, patients and families, employers, consumer advocates, researchers, policymakers, and educators. They organizations are the following:

  • American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation

  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners

  • American Board of Internal Medicine

  • American Board of Medical Specialties

  • American College of Emergency Physicians

  • American College of Physicians

  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management

  • Consumers Advancing Patient Safety

  • The Leapfrog Group

  • National Patient Safety Foundation

  • Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also supporting the coalition.

"Member organizations have committed to take measurable action to improve diagnosis through the collective actions of the Coalition, as well as opportunities available to and led by each member organization," the SIDM said in the release.

A report on diagnostic errors in healthcare to be released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) this fall will outline the dimensions of the problem and suggest ways to address it.

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