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Three New Organizations Commit to Improve Diagnostic Quality and Safety

Three leading healthcare organizations, Advocate Aurora Health, COLA Inc, and University Hospitals have pledged to take action to improve diagnostic quality and safety by joining the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, which already includes nearly 60 of the most prominent organizations in healthcare and patient advocacy.

“Diagnostic error is one of the most important safety problems in health care today and causes the most patient harm,” said Paul L. Epner, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). “Diagnosis is a complex process that involves the entire health care system working together effectively. That is why we need the active commitment of patients, clinicians, leaders in hospitals and health systems to come together to say reducing patient harm from diagnostic error is a priority. We need to work together to identify and implement strategies that improve diagnostic quality and safety.”

Convened and led by SIDM, the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis is the only major collaboration of diverse healthcare organizations singularly focused on improving the diagnostic process. The organizations behind the effort represent clinicians, patients, health systems, researchers and testing professionals—all acknowledging that improvement will require sustained work over several years with all stakeholders involved. Together, they work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic quality and safety, reduce harm and ultimately, ensure better health outcomes for patients.

The new coalition members represent large hospitals and health systems, as well as a laboratory accreditation organization. These three organizations have joined the nearly 60 other organizations taking action to improve diagnostic quality and safety.

Advocate Aurora Health is one of the ten largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States. Caring for nearly 3 million patients and offering more sites of care than any other health system in the Midwest. Diagnostic accuracy as a key aspect of their Patient Safety Strategic Plan. Through using tools such as the SPADE analysis and Safer Dx they aim to understand the improvement opportunities specific to the diagnostic process and develop strategies that help prevent resultant patient safety incidents.

“We are proud to join the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis as one of many ways we’re advancing our patient safety journey to achieve our goal of zero preventable patient harm.,” said Carrie E. Nelson, MD, MS, FAAFP, System Vice President Population Health & Health Outcomes at Advocate Aurora Health. “The literature is clear that diagnostic quality is at the root of some of the most serious patient safety events. Through our involvement with the Coalition, we aim to learn from and contribute to the community and knowledge base brought together under SIDM’s leadership to deliver consistent excellence in diagnostic quality.”

COLA, Inc accredits nearly 7,000 medical laboratories and provides the clinical laboratory with a program of education, consultation, and accreditation. As a national, physician-directed organization, they accredit laboratories of all types and sizes to strengthen the safety and accuracy of laboratory testing, which impacts patient experience, patient care, care management, and the interactions of the care team. As part of their efforts to improve diagnostic quality and safety COLA has developed an educational forum called Lab Testing Matters, in which a multi-disciplinary community of experts share their knowledge and best practices, and a near patient testing research initiative that highlights the value of real-time laboratory information to accurate, timely diagnosis and treatment.

“Reducing diagnostic error involves a multitude of disciplines along with patients and caregivers to form a strong, cohesive team working in concert to provide the best possible outcomes,” said Nancy Stratton, CEO at COLA. “As a physician-directed organization and by sharing our expertise and experience in laboratory accreditation, we are eager to participate with coalition members to find meaningful and practical ways to improve safety and quality in patient care,” she added.

University Hospitals located in Cleveland, OH, offers the region’s largest network of primary care physicians, outpatient centers and hospitals. They are in the process of developing a Center for Excellence in Diagnosis with a focus upon the rational use of diagnostic resources. The Center will focus upon optimizing health care provider diagnostic practices, engaging patients in the diagnostic process, developing guidelines for appropriate use of new and emerging diagnostic tests, and education to improve clinical diagnosis and reasoning.

"Improving quality and safety in general is a top priority at University Hospitals. We are especially focused upon improving diagnostic processes and reducing diagnostic error. Our commitment to the Coalition is a natural extension of the involvement of key system leaders in improving diagnosis,” said Goutham Rao, MD, FAHA, Chief Clinician Experience Officer at University Hospitals. “We are invested in developing a center of diagnostic excellence with an emphasis upon identifying, implementing, and evaluating best diagnostic processes across a variety of settings and disciplines. The Coalition will allow us to share and learn from other members as we move forward in this new decade."

In September 2018, the Coalition launched ACT for Better Diagnosis™ by calling on organizations to identify and spread practical steps to better ensure diagnoses are Accurate, Communicated and Timely. ACT for Better Diagnosis is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The Mont Fund. Stay informed on the latest activities from members of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis by signing up for the monthly ACT Update newsletter here. Coalition members encourage everyone to share what actions they are taking to improve diagnosis with #betterdiagnosis.


About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine catalyzes and leads change to improve diagnosis and eliminate harm from diagnostic error. We work in partnership with patients, their families, the healthcare community and every interested stakeholder. SIDM is the only organization focused solely on the problem of diagnostic error and improving the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis. 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—and the leading health organizations and government agencies involved in patient care. Together, we work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic safety and quality, reduce harm, and ultimately, ensure better health outcomes for patients. Visit to learn more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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