How do patients want physicians to handle mistakes? A survey of internal medicine patients in an academic setting.
The authors of this article examined patients' attitudes about physician errors and reported the findings of a survey conducted on randomly selected outpatients. The investigators assessed the attitudes of 149 participants toward three levels of physician mistakes and the impact of physician disclosure. Nearly all patients desired some form of disclosure, and the propensity for litigation did relate to the perceived severity of the error. The authors conclude that open communication between patients and providers is important and may reduce the risk of punitive actions.