Optimizing the Patients’ Voice in Diagnostic Equity

Listening sessions, conducted in partnership with the National Health Council, delved into the lived experiences of patients, caregivers, and advocates to uncover barriers to diagnostic equity across various healthcare domains.

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The diagnostic journey requires patients to go through a gravely flawed process, with diagnostic errors affecting up to 60 percent of patients and contributing to 40,000-80,000 deaths annually. In collaboration with AcademyHealth, the National Health Council conducted listening sessions to explore patient experiences with the diagnostic process, revealing themes such as insufficient medical education, clinician reluctance to conduct exams, patient reluctance to enter the healthcare system, discrimination during diagnosis, economic barriers, patient-provider concordance, and data availability challenges.

These sessions underscored the multifaceted challenges patients face, including provider bias, economic disparities, and systemic barriers to accessing timely and accurate diagnoses. Patient advocates emphasized the need for inclusive research methodologies, culturally competent care, and policy reforms to address diagnostic inequities and improve patient outcomes. Moving forward, collaborative efforts are essential to address the complex interplay of factors contributing to diagnostic disparities and ensure equitable access to high-quality health care for all patients.


Omar A. Escontrías, Dr.PH., M.P.H.

Senior Vice President of Equity, Research & Programs - National Health Council

Dr. Omar A. Escontrías’ expertise is centered in the areas of community and patient engagement, coalition buil... Read Bio


Silke Schoch, M.A.

Director, Research & Programs - National Health Council

Silke Schoch is the Director of Research & Programs at the National Health Council. Read Bio