More than a dozen healthcare organizations have formed a coalition to address diagnosis errors as the industry awaits a report from the National Academy of Medicine that's expected to shed new light on the gravity of the problem.
On Tuesday, a group of more than a dozen leading healthcare organizations and medical societies announced they had formed the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis and would meet monthly.
Missed and wrong diagnoses have slipped under the radar over the past 15 years of the U.S. patient-safety movement. However, 1 in 10 diagnoses is wrong, and the errors cause an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 deaths a year, according to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Allegations of diagnostic errors led to 20% of all medical malpractice claims and lawsuits and the average payment was $442,000, a 2014 report found.
For nearly a year and a half a 22-member multidisciplinary committee at the National Academy (until July known as the Institute of Medicine) has been delving into existing knowledge, evaluating the burden of harm and costs associated with the mistakes, and working to develop recommendations that will guide nationwide action.
A spokesman for the National Academy said the report is likely to be published in “early fall."
In anticipation of the report, members of patient-safety and advocacy groups and government partners formed the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis. Participants include the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Leapfrog Group, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The coalition held a preliminary meeting in April and will now meet monthly to focus on what they can do individually and collectively to address diagnostic mistakes, according to Mark Graber, president of the Society to Improve Diagnosis and a member of the National Academy committee.
Over the past year various studies have looked at systemwide issues that might fuel the problem and the issues that arise from the errors.
For example, lack of time due to a payment system still dominated by fee-for-service medicine and resistance to team-based approaches have been cited by some. Other studies suggested that misdiagnoses may be an overlooked factor in the battle to drive down antibiotic overuse, another major area of national concern.