Primary care physicians' willingness to disclose oncology errors involving multiple providers to patients.
Despite widespread calls for full disclosure of medical errors, physicians often choose their words carefully rather than explicitly detail how errors may have occurred. This study used two hypothetical vignettes to explore primary care providers' willingness to disclose errors involving multiple providers. The first vignette included a diagnosis of breast cancer that may have been delayed due to miscommunication with a covering physician. The second vignette described a breakdown in care coordination between providers responding to a patient's telephone call concerns, resulting in an adverse outcome. The majority of respondents said they would provide only a partial disclosure in either situation. More than three-quarters of physicians in the breast cancer case said they would offer either no information or would make vague references to miscommunication. In a prior WebM&M interview, Dr. Thomas Gallagher, the senior author of this study, discussed error disclosure.