Diagnostic errors account for a significant portion of all medical errors and are responsible for substantial harm and avoidable healthcare costs, yet they have not received the attention that other types of errors have received in discussions on patient safety. The primary goal of the diagnostic error in medicine (DEM) conferences is to improve patient safety by reducing the likelihood of diagnostic errors. The major objectives of the DEM conferences are consistent with the objectives of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), including the AHRQ's focus areas of patient safety, medical error, ambulatory care, and the use of informatics to improve the quality of medical care. The first 2 DEM conferences, which were held in 2008 and 2009, received support from the AHRQ through 1-year conference grant awards. In the current application, the DEM conference planning committee requests funding from the AHRQ to continue support through a 3-year award to cover conferences in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2009, the DEM conference occurred in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) and we plan to continue to link the two meetings to take advantage of the common interests that attendees of both meetings share, and the synergies that this collaboration fosters. Both groups share the desire to improve healthcare quality and understand the importance of optimizing medical decision making as the foundation for achieving this goal. This unique partnership facilitates several of the major goals of the DEM community, including the goal of building a consensus curriculum for clinical reasoning, promoting optimal decision-making strategies, and incorporating best-evidence whenever possible. The association also provides benefits to SMDM, by attracting clinicians and educators with a primary interest in medical error. The partnership also provides an important endorsement that helps broaden the visibility of DEM conferences and increase interest and participation in them. The SMDM provides the DEM conference planning committee with access to logistical support, and the coordinated meeting schedule allows for some economies of scale through joint registrations, sharing of common expenses, and presentations by key faculty at both meetings. The dates and sites of meetings during the proposed funding period have been confirmed, with the next 3 meetings scheduled to take place in Toronto, ON (October 2010);Chicago, IL (October 2011);and Phoenix, AZ (October 2012). In 2010, the theme for the DEM conference will be """"""""Translating Evidence into Action"""""""" and will heavily feature content related to both diagnostic error research (assessment of diagnostic technology, current research in diagnostic error, knowledge translation and funding, research priorities) and diagnostic error education (new insights into clinical reasoning, the role of evidence-based medicine in diagnosis, and developing educational curricula for diagnostic error). Scientific abstract sessions will be devoted to presenting the results of ongoing research projects. Speakers will be internationally recognized leaders in the new field of DEM, including researchers and clinicians from diverse disciplines. Ongoing support from the AHRQ would enable the DEM conference to build on the success of its first 2 meetings by establishing itself in national and international arenas as the premier conference and center of activity focused on reducing diagnostic error. Given that the DEM conference represents both academic and practical aspects of diagnostic error but is not a professional society, the current application is designed to help the conference """"""""gain traction"""""""" over the next 3 years and achieve several important goals: (1) to strengthen the ongoing partnership with SMDM, a partnership that provides the DEM conference committee with an organizational infrastructure and continuity in its conference preparations;(2) to transition the DEM conference from an 18-month conference cycle to a 12-month cycle, which will in turn help the conference gain visibility and raise public awareness of DEM;and (3) to expand the conference program offerings to include formal short courses and organized interest groups.
This is a large conference grant request in support of a national academic conference dedicated to the topic of diagnostic error in Medicine. We expect 150+ of the leading experts in this field to attend to discuss current understandings of this problem and what steps can be taken to minimize errors in the future.
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