A call to action: Next steps to advance diagnosis education in the health professions

Mark L. Graber, Eric Holmboe, Joan Stanley, Jennifer Danielson, Stephen Schoenbaum, Andrew P.J. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Improving diagnosis-related education in the health professions has great potential to improve the quality and safety of diagnosis in practice. Twelve key diagnostic competencies have been delineated through a previous initiative. The objective of this project was to identify the next steps necessary for these to be incorporated broadly in education and training across the health professions. Methods: We focused on medicine, nursing, and pharmacy as examples. A literature review was conducted to survey the state of diagnosis education in these fields, and a consensus group was convened to specify next steps, using formal approaches to rank suggestions. Results: The literature review confirmed initial but insufficient progress towards addressing diagnosis-related education. By consensus, we identified the next steps necessary to advance diagnosis education, and five required elements relevant to every profession: 1) Developing a shared, common language for diagnosis, 2) developing the necessary content, 3) developing assessment tools, 4) promoting faculty development, and 5) spreading awareness of the need to improve education in regard to diagnosis. Conclusions: The primary stakeholders, representing education, certification, accreditation, and licensure, in each profession must now take action in their own areas to encourage, promote, and enable improved diagnosis, and move these recommendations forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research funding: The work reflected in this manuscript was funded by an award from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to a President’s Grant to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). The funding organization played no role in the study design, in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data, in the writing of the report, or in the decision to submit the report for publication. Stephen Schoenbaum MD, special assistant to the CEO of the Macy Foundation, participated in this work based on his experience and interest in interprofessional organization; his input in every instance represented his personal contribution, not as a representative of the Macy Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • competence
  • competency
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic error
  • health professions education
  • medical education
  • nursing education
  • pharmacy education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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