Dr. Traber Giardina, assistant professor of medicine and health services research at Baylor College of Medicine and the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt) at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, has been selected as one of 10 scholars for the National Academy of Medicine’s Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program. This inaugural cohort of scholars was competitively selected from a wide variety of U.S. health professionals pursuing work to reduce misdiagnosis in healthcare.
“The National Academy of Medicine program is a unique opportunity to continue my patient safety work and receive additional training and mentorship in health equity and disparities in the diagnostic process,” Giardina said.
Scholars will work over a one-year term to improve diagnosis and reduce diagnostic errors, beginning July 1, 2021. The experience will not only increase their expertise of diagnostic safety and quality but also further their careers as national leaders in the field through various learning activities, an online curriculum and professional networking. The basis of their work in the program will stem from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2015 consensus report, “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care.”
“The National Academies’ report has made a significant impact on my work, specifically on the inclusion of patients and families as partners in the diagnostic process,” Giardina said. “As someone who has a longstanding interest in the role of patients in improving diagnostic safety, this report solidified my motivation to keep pursuing this area as a research career.”
Giardina is a patient safety researcher and social scientist. Her work has focused on exploring the use of patient and family healthcare error experiences to identify factors that contribute to diagnostic error. She found that interpersonal issues within patient-physician interactions are a major contributor. As an NAM Scholar in Diagnostic Excellence, she will use a health equity lens to collaborate with underrepresented and marginalized patients and community partners to co-produce practical tools to help patients engage in and evaluate the diagnostic process.
“While our prior research estimates that at least 1 in 20 adults could experience a misdiagnosis annually in U.S. outpatient settings alone, the numbers may be much higher in underrepresented populations,” said Dr. Hardeep Singh, professor of medicine and health services research at Baylor who has served as Giardina’s research mentor for more than a decade. “Dr. Giardina’s pioneering work to engage patients themselves to reduce misdiagnosis has the potential to improve patient safety on a national scale.”
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the Academy works to address critical issues in health, medicine and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The National Academy of Medicine collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.