Disclosing clinical adverse events to patients: can practice inform policy?

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal article
Sorensen Rozlyn et al. 2008, 'Disclosing clinical adverse events to patients: can practice inform policy?', Blackwell Publishing Ltd., vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 148-159.
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Abstract Objectives: To understand patients and health professionals experience of open disclosure and to consider how open disclosure practice can inform policy. Background: Open disclosure procedures are being implemented in health services worldwide yet empirical evidence on which to base patient-clinician communication and policy development is scant. Design, setting and participants: A qualitative methodology was used. Semi-structured open-ended interviews were conducted with 154 respondents (20 nursing, 49 medical, 59 clinical/administrative managerial, 3 policy coordinators, 15 patients and 8 family members) in 21 hospitals and health services in four Australian states. Results: Both patients and health professionals were positive about open disclosure. We found that five major elements underlie their experience of open disclosing error namely: initiating open disclosure, apologizing for the error, taking the patientâ¿¿s perspective, communicating the adverse event and being culturally aware. Patients and health professionals differed on their assessments of practice effectiveness. Conclusions: Health services that evaluate the impact of policies such as open disclosure can collectively refine their delivery processes and develop an evidence base to inform future policy development. Health services can use specific properties relating to each of the five open disclosure elements as standards for training purposes and to assess the progress of policy implementation.
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