Journal Article

Does full disclosure of medical errors affect malpractice liability? The jury is still out.

Kachalia A, Shojania KG, Hofer TP, et al. Joint Commission journal on quality and safety. 2003;29:503-11.

This comprehensive literature review evaluated more than 5000 citations to determine the impact full disclosure policies have on malpractice liability. The authors present a summary of the 20 states with disclosure policies, the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of implementing such policies, and then a series of examples from investigations that examined risk factors for medical malpractice suits. Notable factors suggested from the literature include poor communication with patients, the presence of negligence, socioeconomic status, patient complaints, and physician performance during training. Despite the extensive and existing body of literature available, the authors conclude that minimal evidence directly links the effect of full disclosure on malpractice liability. Another study specifically described patient and physician attitudes towards the disclosure process.