Health Care Professionals' Views of Implementing a Policy of Open Disclosure of Errors

Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 2008, 13 (4), pp. 227 - 232
Issue Date:
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Objectives: To understand the views of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and health managers of open disclosure of medical errors. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 131 health professionals to understand their experiences of implementing open disclosure in 21 providers in Australia. Results: Health professionals are positive about open disclosure and are applying the model to patient clinician communication encounters more generally. Workforce and systems competencies enable clinicians and health service managers to implement open disclosure principles and practices, although a propensity to hide errors, wavering commitment and to exacerbate the problem inhibits implementation as policy intends. The gap between policy objectives and their implementation limits the benefits to health professionals. Conclusion: Health services must develop organizing capabilities if open disclosure is to be implemented as intended. Activities should identify and address factors that impede implementation and enable workforce and system competencies to develop. These activities will allow health services to adapt central open disclosure policy to local conditions and to embed its principles and practices organization-wide.
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