Studies Examine Disclosure, Apology, Compensation

January 4, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Strong support by key stakeholders and minimal perceived barriers would lead to smooth implementation for organizations that choose to adopt a disclosure, apology, and offer model, reports a study in the December 2012 issue of theMilbank Quarterly. The model examined in this study includes five steps: (1) proactively identifying adverse events, (2) differentiating between events caused by negligence and complications of disease or inherently high-risk procedures, (3) providing full disclosure and an honest explanation, (4) encouraging consultation with legal representatives, and (5) offering an apology and fair compensation. Upon interviewing a broad range of stakeholders, researchers found that the ethical and professional facets of the model were most appealing, as well as the potential for reduced litigation time, effort, and costs. Respondents also noted the tendency of the model to promote learning and reduce blame. However, increased compensatory offers can be perceived as an attempt to avoid litigation, reports a study published in the December 2012 Health Affairs. Researchers created an online survey that included a series of vignettes; all involved an error for which the physician took responsibility and offered compensation for the error, ranging from none to full compensation.

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