The Leapfrog Group has launched a two-year initiative on preventing diagnostic errors, specifically focusing on identifying best practices and surveying hospitals on the issue.
The Leapfrog Group, a not-for-profit watchdog best known for its hospital safety grades, is hoping the project will raise awareness in the industry about diagnostic errors and encourage providers to focus on addressing them. Diagnostic errors are among the most common mistakes in medicine and a leading cause of malpractice claims but there has historically been little research and concentrated efforts by providers to solve the problem.
"We think it's one of the most overlooked aspects of patient safety in the U.S.," said Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group. "We know from research there is a significant problem with diagnostic errors that harm patients."
The initiative is funded with a $1.2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Binder said the two-year initiative is a pilot, but Leapfrog will examine aspects to maintain in the future.
The Leapfrog Group is partnering with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, a not-for-profit organization established in 2011, on the initiative.
The first year of the initiative, called Recognizing Excellence in Diagnosis, will focus on identifying best practices to prevent diagnostic errors in hospitals and health systems.
An advisory group of patients, insurers, employers, Leapfrog and others will select the best practices. The group will develop a pilot survey in year two to measure hospitals' adoption of the best practices. As many as 100 providers will participate. Binder said Leapfrog hasn't yet determined how it will select participants, but it will be providers with an interest in addressing diagnostic errors.
Leapfrog plans to release a report on the current state of diagnostic safety, best practices, and ways insurers, employers and patients can incentivize providers to improve.
"Employers are interested in this because they recognize that diagnostic errors are a real issue for the health of their employees," Binder said. "This is not just about education, this is also about trying to reward health systems that achieve the highest level of diagnostic excellence."