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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Disclosure of "nonharmful" medical errors and other events: duty to disclose.

Chamberlain CJ, Koniaris LG, Wu AW, et al. Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 2012;147:282-6.

A critical element in managing medical errors, the duty to disclose is endorsed as a key safety practice by the National Quality Forum. This commentary focuses on the disclosure of near misses or nonharmful errors, which are situations when providers typically feel less inclined to disclose. The authors offer a working definition of patient harm before providing a compelling discussion that advocates for greater reporting of nonharmful events to patients and to formal reporting systems. Recommendations for how to disclose errors are also shared along with rationale for why an open disclosure approach can lead to improved patient care. A past AHRQ WebM&M perspective and interview discussed different facets of error disclosure.