Extreme Honesty: Medical Errors and Full Disclosure

May 31, 2016

The magnitude of medical errors in the clinical setting is staggering. The landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System concluded that “as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals each year as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented.” That IOM report accelerated the patient safety movement at both the federal and state levels.

Dr. Susan Levy, President of AMDA–the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, says, “Disclosure of errors to patients and their families is an important component of an organization’s culture of safety. Leaders from the involved disciplines should meet with the patient and their family to discuss the events, general findings of the investigation and what is being done to avoid a recurrence.” Dr. Levy adds, “Involving patients and families in creating solutions reflects a patient centered approach to organizational safety.”