Moore Foundation Establishes Center for Diagnostic Excellence at UCSF

National coordinating center will support new and ongoing work to improve diagnosis and prevent errors.

By Laura Kurtzman

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded UC San Francisco a $15 million grant to establish a new national Coordinating Center for Diagnostic Excellence (CoDEx).

Diagnostic errors are frequent and consequential, with a recent study showing that nearly half a million Americans each year suffer serious disability and preventable death from delayed or missed diagnosis. In the past five years, the Moore Foundation has invested more than $100 million in its Diagnostic Excellence Initiative. The Initiative catalyzed a tremendous amount of new activity and focused work on the topic. With the diagnostic excellence field firmly established, the Moore Foundation determined that the time was right to create a national coordinating center to support new and ongoing work in diagnostic excellence.

Under the direction of Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, who leads the recently-launched UCSF Division of Clinical Informatics and Digital Transformation (DoC-IT), the new center will serve as the “central nervous system” for the diagnostic excellence field by establishing three interrelated programs. These programs will synthesize and disseminate major advancements in diagnostic excellence research and clinical practice; convene and continue network building for the field; and serve as an incubator, launching several action roundtables that identify knowledge and tools to advance progress towards diagnostic excellence, support the human capital needed to deliver these solutions and drive measurable outcome improvements for patients. For each program, the center will collaborate with individuals and organizations working in diagnostic excellence, both within and beyond UCSF.

We plan to build on the critical investments that the Moore Foundation has made in this field and expand upon them with a new emphasis on rapidly evolving areas that are poised to transform diagnosis, such as artificial intelligence.”

Julia Adler-Milstein
Incoming director of the Coordinating Center for Diagnostic Excellence
Julia Adler-Milstein headshot

“Our hope is that this new center will amplify the impact of current work and ensure that we make meaningful improvements in all dimensions of diagnosis,” Adler-Milstein said

The center will also host annual meetings to bring together a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, promote research and funding for the field, and engage clinicians, patients and health system leaders to design and implement solutions.

“By building knowledge and tools and providing training and dissemination, we can drive measurable improvements for patients,” said Robert Wachter, MD, chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine and head of the CoDEx steering committee. “Tools such as new generative AI create novel opportunities to improve diagnosis, which makes this a particularly exciting time to launch this new center. UCSF’s deep expertise in informatics, clinical medicine, quality, equity and patient safety make it an ideal home for the center and its efforts to move the field forward.”

“UCSF is uniquely positioned to lead this important next phase of advancing diagnostic excellence in education, clinical practice, research and policy,” said Daniel Yang, MD, Program Director of Patient Care at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “An accurate, timely, patient-centered and equitable diagnosis is fundamental to high quality patient care. By moving the field forward, building consensus on priorities and exploring how technology can improve the diagnostic process, UCSF will be a vital force for driving diagnostic excellence across the health care system.”