MedStar Health Joins National Effort to Improve the Quality of Medical Diagnosis

September 13, 2018

COLUMBIA, Maryland (September 13, 2018)—MedStar Health has joined more than 40 healthcare and patient advocacy organizations that today launched a targeted effort to improve the process of medical diagnostics. The coalition, ACT for Better Diagnosis, is an initiative of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine that is calling on organizations to identify and spread practical steps to better ensure diagnoses are accurate, communicated and timely (ACT).  

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has estimated that one in 10 diagnoses is incorrect and that everyone is likely to experience a diagnostic error in their lifetime.  MedStar’s assistant vice president for Quality, Chris Goeschel, ScD, MPA, MPS, RN, FAAN, served on the National Academies panel that studied the issue from 2013 to 2015 and issued the report (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2015).  

At MedStar, Dr. Goeschel leads the Center for Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare, which is part of the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS). Its focus is to achieve the goals set forth by the national report.

“The MedStar ‘patient first’ philosophy inspires us to listen and learn with, from and on behalf of our patients,” she said. “This is never more important than during the diagnostic process. As health care becomes more complex, and technologies and clinical therapies grow exponentially, we must never lose appreciation for the most important voice of all—that of the patient.” 

The MIQS Center will address diagnostic challenges by:

  • Convening interested clinician, patient and family,  and community stakeholders
  • Collaborating to identify and prioritize diagnostic challenges
  • Creating and implementing training, tools and effective improvement interventions
  • Communicating what is learned with the larger healthcare community through workshops, publications, enhanced training and expanded research

A number of related initiatives are currently underway across MedStar, including a diagnostic reasoning curriculum for internal medicine residents, surveys of practitioners and administrative leaders to understand gaps in awareness and knowledge regarding diagnostic error, and outreach to local and system level Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) members, as well as to providers from diverse disciplines seeking their active involvement in all facets of diagnostic improvement work. 

MedStar was also one of six organizations from across the nation selected to participate in a recently concluded diagnosis improvement collaborative funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and organized and led by the Society for Improving Diagnosis in Medicine and The Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Other Coalition members include Geisinger, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Maryland Patient Safety Center, and multiple medical specialty associations. More information about the Coalition can be found here.  

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About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

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