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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Improving the patient, family, and clinician experience after harmful events: the "When Things Go Wrong" curriculum.

Bell SK, Moorman DW, Delbanco T. Acad Med. 2010;85(6):1010-1017.

Medical errors have a lasting effect on patients and their families but can also leave providers—the "second victim"—with a similar emotional toll. Error disclosure is increasingly viewed as an essential skill for physicians just as training curriculums and guidelines continue to emerge. This study describes an interactive educational curriculum for trainees and faculty physicians that teaches error disclosure, apology, and explores the human impact of error. Among the participants, 62% of trainees and 88% of faculty reported making a medical error, while 62% and 78% of them, respectively, did not apologize, citing the lack of training to do so. The authors share the development of their curriculum, its evaluation, and also provide a tool to address practical issues related to communication and professionalism following an adverse event. Past AHRQ WebM&M perspectives have discussed error disclosure and new developments in the field.