A coalition of over 40 healthcare and patient advocacy organisations have come together to improve the quality of medical diagnoses. Researchers estimate that up to 80,000 deaths a year in US hospitals can be attributed to inaccurate or delayed diagnoses.
ACT for Better Diagnosis, an initiative of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), aims to improve the diagnostic process by calling on organisations to identify and spread practical steps to better ensure diagnoses are Accurate, Communicated and Timely.
Coalition members include:
And many more.
“Providing an accurate medical diagnosis is complex and involves uncertainty, but it’s obviously essential to effective and timely treatment,” said Paul L. Epner, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of SIDM.
“Nearly everyone will receive an inaccurate diagnosis at some point in their life and for some, the consequences will be grave. Major improvement is needed to systematically identify how to improve diagnostic quality and reduce harm to patients.”
Each year, diagnostic errors affect 12mn adults in outpatient settings and are the most common cause of medical errors reported by patients.
Working in collaboration over several months, members of the SIDM-led Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, made up of premier national healthcare and patient advocacy organisations, identified initial obstacles they believe impede diagnostic accuracy, including:
The organisations behind the effort—representing clinicians, patients, health systems, researchers and testing professionals—acknowledge that improvement will require sustained work over several years with all stakeholders engaged.
“The diagnosis process—thinking through a patient’s clinical presentation—is a defining task for our profession, and for internal medicine specialists and subspecialists in particular,” said Dr Ana María López, President, American College of Physicians.
“Critically assessing diagnostic decision-making reveals knowledge gaps, communication pitfalls, and risk for errors.”
Also participating in the coalition are federal liaisons, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Veterans Health Administration.