Improving diagnosis through education

Andrew P.J. Olson, Mark L. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Diagnosis is the cornerstone of providing safe and effective medical care. Still, diagnostic errors are all too common. A key to improving diagnosis in practice is improving diagnosis education, yet formal education about diagnosis is often lacking, idiosyncratic, and not evidence based. In this Invited Commentary, the authors describe the outcomes of a national consensus project to identify key competencies for diagnosis and the themes that emerged as part of this work. The 12 competencies the authors describe span 3 categories - individual, teamwork, and system related - and address ideal diagnostic practice for all health professionals. In addition, the authors identify strategies for improving diagnosis education, including the use of theory-based pedagogy and interprofessional approaches, the recognition of the role of the health care system to enhance or inhibit the diagnostic process, and the need to focus on the individual attributes necessary for high-quality diagnosis, such as humility and curiosity. The authors conclude by advocating for increasing and improving the assessment of individual and team-based diagnostic performance in health professions education programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1162-1165
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
As part of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, we led an interprofessional, collaborative project funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation that took a very important first step in improving diagnosis education: defining the competencies necessary to achieve diagnostic excellence.

Funding Information:
Funding/Support: This work was supported by a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.


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