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USA: Congress commits funding for research to reduce diagnostic Error and improve patient safety in final FY2023 spending bill

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has announced that Congress in the final FY 2023 Omnibus spending bill has doubled dedicated federal funding for research to reduce patient harm from diagnostic error. Statistically, each of us is likely to experience a meaningful diagnostic error in our lifetime.

The significant human and financial toll of diagnostic errors, which occur in all settings of care, was first highlighted in a landmark 2015 National Academy of Medicine (NAM) report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. The report found that missed, delayed, or un-communicated diagnoses result in more patient harm than all other healthcare-associated harms combined. The NAM report called diagnostic error "a blind spot" in health care quality and safety, and improving medical diagnosis a "moral, professional, and public health imperative."

Since the release of the NAM report, SIDM has been working hard to educate policymakers about these issues and advocating for more research funding. SIDM has assembled a coalition of dozens of groups representing health systems, patients, clinicians, and others to raise awareness and spark action. "This funding is an important signal that Congress is becoming aware of the magnitude of the public health burden, both human and financial, associated with diagnostic error and intends to tackle it," says Jennie Ward-Robinson, CEO of SIDM. 

Citing diagnosis as "the next frontier of patient safety," the NAM report summarised what is known about factors that affect diagnostic safety and accuracy at the clinician, system, and policy levels, and made recommendations at each of those levels. A few promising interventions are already emerging for specific and commonly misdiagnosed conditions, as well as for specific systems-level problems, such as failure to "close the loop" on abnormal test results. But these initiatives are tiny compared the scope and scale of the issue.   

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Source: CISION PR Newswire, 3 January 2023


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