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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Patients' and family members' views on how clinicians enact and how they should enact incident disclosure: the "100 patient stories" qualitative study.

Iedema R, Allen S, Britton K, et al. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2011;343:d4423.

Clinicians’ approach to disclosing errors has evolved in recent years, thanks to survey data showing that patients consistently desire full disclosure of errors. In Australia, an open disclosure policy was formally endorsed in 2008. This study used in-depth interviews with 100 patients who experienced errors, and went through the error disclosure process to evaluate the perception of patients (and their families) of the disclosure process. Patients consistently stated that how errors were disclosed affected their feelings about the process, even if all relevant information was disclosed. Many patients complained that they were not adequately prepared for disclosure meetings, did not feel they had the opportunity to ask questions, or had difficulty obtaining follow-up after the initial meeting. As full disclosure policies become more widely implemented, this study provides important guidance for implementing disclosure policies that are truly patient-centered.