The Leapfrog Group is funded for national initiative on preventing harm from diagnostic error

Jan. 29, 2021

The Leapfrog Group announced Recognizing Excellence in Diagnosis, a new national initiative to publicly report and recognize hospitals for preventing patient harm due to diagnostic errors.

Developed in collaboration with The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) and key experts, the project is funded with a two-year grant of $1.2 million by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

According to a landmark 2015 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, diagnostic errors are among the top 10 causes of death nationally, accounting for nearly 40,000 to 80,000 deaths per year. An estimated 12 million Americans will experience a diagnostic error in outpatient care annually and another 250,000 will be harmed by a diagnostic error as a hospital inpatient.

“We know diagnostic error is exceptionally harmful to patients, but until now the issue has been overlooked as a patient safety problem, with few market incentives for health systems to improve in this area. Leapfrog is grateful to the Moore Foundation for the support we need to galvanize change.” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

“Diagnostic errors are the most common, costly, and catastrophic of all medical errors.” said Paul L. Epner, CEO and Co-founder of SIDM. “We must do better as a country in assessing diagnostic performance and developing solutions that lead to diagnoses which are accurate, timely, and communicated to the patient.  We are excited to partner with a national leader in evaluating and recognizing quality like Leapfrog.”

Recognizing Excellence in Diagnosis will be conducted over two years. As a first step, the initiative will convene an advisory group of Leapfrog and SIDM representatives, patient and payor stakeholders, and experts in diagnosis and performance analysis. With guidance from the advisory group, the project will identify best practices in diagnosis and put together a roadmap for hospitals and health systems to achieve excellence. SIDM will facilitate the development of training and educational materials to support hospitals and health systems in their adoption of the best practices. In year two, Leapfrog will pilot test a national survey, similar to the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, to collect data from up to 100 hospitals and health systems on their adoption of identified best practices. A national report will be issued on the current status of diagnostic safety, best practices for achieving excellence, and strategies for payors and patients to incentivize improvement.

Other key partners on the initiative include Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, a patient safety researcher at Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt) based at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP, SIDM Founder and President Emeritus; and Matt Austin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“The pandemic has further underscored the implications of diagnostic error, making this national initiative to accelerate implementation of safety practices very timely,” said Singh. “We can finally translate more than a decade of our diagnostic safety research into clinical care improvements.”

The Leapfrog Group has the release.