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Session Details

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​April 18, 2019, 2:00 PM ET: What's an Apology Worth? The Case for Communication and Resolution

  • Thomas H. Gallagher, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Washington; Associate Chair, Patient Care Quality, Safety, and Value
  • Allen Kachalia, MD, JD, Director, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality; Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine

When a patient is unintentionally harmed during medical treatment, how should organizations respond? Tell patients and families right away? Make sure there's support for staff? Brief patients and families about the investigation into the incident? Issue an apology? If the harm was severe and/or avoidable, make an early offer of financial compensation?

Not that long ago, steps like these were unthinkable and, from a risk manager's perspective, totally unwise. Today these practices are at the core of what are called communication and resolution programs (or CRPs)​, and their architects say there's been a significant uptick in US health systems using them. Still, much of health care remains on the fence about CRPs, using some components but not others, and nothing consistently. What might lessen the ambivalence? That's what we'll discuss on the April 18 WIHI: What's an Apology Worth? The Case for Communication and Resolution. We hope you'll join in.  

Our guests are two leading experts on CRPs, Tom Gallagher and Allen Kachalia. They and a team of researchers have been teasing out the reasons why so many health care leaders are committed to the principles of CRPs, but hesitant to deploy the practices. The most common reason given is the fear that the honest admission of errors can only result in more lawsuits. It's an assertion that's not backed up by early studies of CRPs. But even as more studies are needed, Tom Gallagher and Allen Kachalia say it's equally important to recognize that CRPs have been found to improve an organization's safety culture, including greater incident reporting by staff.

On the April 18 WIHI you can expect to learn more about the connection between CRPs and improved safety; the practical challenges of implementing CRPs, as experienced by a group of pilot sites; efforts to create a set of measures to help health care systems track the impact of CRPs on staff, patients and families, safety culture, error-related costs and legal claims; and new thinking about a "transparency bundle"​ to address harm.

If you've been wondering what's been going on with CRPs and new ways forward, this WIHI is for you. Please join us, and please tell your colleagues about the WIHI on April 18. ​​

Please click here to create a calendar invite for the 2:00 PM ET broad​cast.​​ ​​