Hospital Disclosure Practices: Results of a National Survey


New patient safety standards from JCAHO that require hospitals to disclose to patients all unexpected outcomes of care took effect July 1, 2001. In a 2002 Commonwealth Fund–supported survey of risk managers at a nationally representative sample of hospitals, the vast majority reported that their hospital's practice was to disclose harm at least some of the time, although only one-third of hospitals actually had board-approved policies in place. More than half of respondents reported that they would always disclose a death or serious injury, but when presented with actual clinical scenarios, respondents were much less likely to disclose preventable harms than to disclose non-preventable harms of comparable severity. Reluctance to disclose preventable harms was twice as likely to occur at hospitals having major concerns about the malpractice implications of disclosure. R. M. Lamb, D. M. Studdert, R.M.J. Bohmer, et al., Hospital Disclosure Practices: Results of a National Survey, Health Affairs, March/April 2003, 2(2): 73-83

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