Effects of a communication-and-resolution program on hospitals' malpractice claims and costs.
Health care systems have implemented communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs) to respond to serious errors and adverse events. Rather than a deny-or-defend strategy, CRPs facilitate full error disclosure, investigation into the cause, an apology, and early compensation. Some systems have had great success with CRPs and most see them as a morally wise approach to errors. However, concerns that CRPs will increase malpractice costs has limited widespread implementation. Investigators analyzed malpractice costs at four hospitals that implemented CRPs compared with matched control hospitals. Communication-and-resolution programs had either a positive or neutral effect on all metrics including new claims rate, paid claims rate, and total liability costs. This analysis is the most robust to date supporting CRP programs as previous studies have lacked a control group. A previous PSNet interview with Michelle Mello discussed other intersections between patient safety and the law.