Use of nondisclosure agreements in medical malpractice settlements by a large academic health care system.
This review of closed malpractice claims sought to determine the frequency of nondisclosure agreements and their scope. This is a critical issue because broad nondisclosure agreements prevent potential future patients from learning about a prior closed malpractice claim and thus run counter to current efforts to improve transparency in health care. Investigators found that use of nondisclosure agreements is common, inconsistent, and seemed more broad than necessary. Some agreements prohibited disclosure to regulatory agencies, a practice which the institution has since discontinued. This finding underscores the need to develop and implement standards around nondisclosure in medical litigation. A related editorial details the types of disclosure that foster transparency while upholding the need for confidential error resolution.