Awareness of the emotional harm and healthcare aversion patients and families experience after medical errors is growing, but little is known about the characteristics, duration, and factors associated with such harm.
A 2018 survey by Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety, studied 253 Massachusetts residents who either experienced medical error themselves or self-reported an error occurring to someone in their family offers new insights. Over 20% of individuals who reported a medical error that occurred 3-6 years ago, still feel sad, anxious, angry, betrayed or abandoned by healthcare and nearly a third say they are still avoiding medical care. Communication about the error mitigated these harms with patients who received consistent open communication. These patients also are less likely to report long-term emotional harm (e.g. anger, betrayal, anxiety). Respondents who report no communication are almost twice as likely to report avoiding medical care compared to respondents reporting open communication.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Virtual Learning Hour reviews data from the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety survey and the role open communication can play in mitigating under-recognized long-term emotional and psychological effects of errors on patients and families. Throughout this Virtual Learning Hour, panelists will provide real-life relevance to the data and provide tools on the best practices of Communication Resolution Programs (CRP) from both the patient and provider perspective.