Hospital Disclosure Practices: Results of a National Survey

Posted: 7 May 2003

See all articles by Rae M. Lamb

Rae M. Lamb

Radio New Zealand

David M. Studdert

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Richard Bohmer

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Donald M. Berwick

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Troyen A. Brennan

Harvard School of Public Health/Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital

Abstract

New patient safety standards from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations that require hospitals to disclose to patients all unexpected outcomes of care took effect on July 1, 2001. We surveyed risk managers at a nationally representative sample of hospitals to determine current disclosure practices. The vast majority of respondents reported that their hospital's practice was to disclose harm at least some of the time; 36% had board-approved policies and 44% were in the process of developing policies at the time of our survey in early 2002. Although more than one half (65%) of respondents reported that they would always disclose a death or serious injury, when presented with actual clinical scenarios respondents were significantly less likely to disclose preventable than non-preventable harms of comparable severity. Multivariate analysis showed that reluctance to disclose preventable harms was twice as likely to occur at hospitals where there were significant concerns about the malpractice implications of disclosure.

Suggested Citation

Lamb, Rae M. and Studdert, David M. and Bohmer, Richard and Berwick, Donald M. and Brennan, Troyen A., Hospital Disclosure Practices: Results of a National Survey. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=401461

Rae M. Lamb

Radio New Zealand ( email )

155 the Terrace
PO Box 123
Wellington
New Zealand
0064-4-4741981 (Phone)
0064-4-4741986 (Fax)

David M. Studdert (Contact Author)

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Department of Health Policy and Management
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-432-5209 (Phone)
617-432-4494 (Fax)

Richard Bohmer

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Morgan Hall T-15
Boston, MA 02163
United States
(617) 495-6660 (Phone)
(617) 496-4059 (Fax)

Donald M. Berwick

Institute for Healthcare Improvement ( email )

375 Longwood Avenue, 4th floor
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-754-4852 (Phone)
617-754-4848 (Fax)

Troyen A. Brennan

Harvard School of Public Health/Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital ( email )

75 Francis St.
Executive Offices, PBB4
Boston, MA 02115
617-732-8961 (Phone)
617-732-5343 (Fax)

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