3 Considerations to Ease the Process of Discussing Other Clinicians' Errors
The New England Journal of Medicine.
The article provides the following items pertinent to explaining errors to patients who have been harmed by colleagues:
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1. Patients and families come first. Patients have a right to know about what is happening to them, especially if their care includes errors. Ethics, insurance policies and provider responsibility all demand the issue must be discussed as soon as it is discovered.
2. Explore, don't ignore. The article suggests a reason errors remain undiscussed with patients is because clinicians have a difficult time confronting one another about errors. The article provides a guide to several situations that might occur, how to approach a discussion and who to involve in the discussion (see Table 1 in "Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians' Errors").
3. Institutions should lead the process. Ultimately, healthcare institutions are responsible for creating environments in which conversations about accountability can exist. Institutions must invest in communication training and protocols for error reporting, circumventing hierarchy and ego issues, which may prevent the transfer of important information regarding errors.
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