Harvard studying value of apologizing


From Sunday's Boston Globe (this one is in the paid archives): Hospitals Study When to Apologize to Patients:

    Harvard Medical School's major teaching hospitals are considering adopting a sweeping disclosure policy that would establish detailed procedures for physicians to openly acknowledge medical errors and other bad results to their patients, and provide training in apologizing.

As I've mentioned before, I love the idea of CME activities that teach healthcare workers how to be more human to their patients, and what is apologizing for mistakes but a most human of acts. It'll be complicated, no doubt about it, and the lawyers are probably frothing at the mouth at the idea, but I have a strong suspicion that this would actually bring down, not raise, liability issues and lawsuits. And it seems to me that having to publicly own up to mistakes might just make everyone be a little more careful in the first place.

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