Improving reconciliation following medical injury: a qualitative study of responses to patient safety incidents in New Zealand.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
Exploring patient-centered alternatives to traditional malpractice litigation is an ongoing patient safety consideration. Investigators conducted interviews with patients, health care administrators, and malpractice lawyers in New Zealand, where a no-fault scheme has superseded malpractice litigation. Several themes about postincident reconciliation emerged. Patients noted the importance of feeling listened to and the need for prompt apology from providers involved in the adverse event. All stakeholders supported the practice of direct engagement between the treating provider and patient or family as a critical step for reconciliation. Patients and lawyers reported benefits to early involvement from lawyers to support reconciliation. The authors conclude that reconciliation following adverse events requires approaches tailored to individual patient and family needs. An accompanying editorial discusses the importance of transparency for reconciliation and trust.