This article in the New England Journal of Medicine looks at the Institute of Medicine’s new report titled “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care — The Next Imperative for Patient Safety.”
The authors of the NEJM piece, Hardeep Singh, M.D., and Mark L. Graber, M.D., conclude:
“Now could be an opportune moment to create a national public–private partnership to propel progress. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have made commitments to improving diagnosis, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the ONC also have interests that intersect with patient safety and could contribute to research and implementation initiatives for elucidating and reducing diagnostic errors. On the private side, a movement is being led by the nonprofit Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, …which petitioned the IOM to study this issue and aims to spearhead a national coalition of professional societies and other interested parties to translate the recommendations into action.
“For the past 15 years, the patient-safety movement has focused on treatment-related harms. But interactions that are too brief to permit clinicians to listen to patients, productivity pressures, and reimbursement systems that don’t adequately support clinicians’ cognitive work are highlighting additional safety issues. ‘Improving Diagnosis in Health Care’ restores balance to the patient-safety quest by calling attention to diagnosis, the other half of medicine. We are optimistic that the report will spark a renaissance of interest in improving diagnosis and reducing patient harm from diagnostic error.”