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Swiss Med Wkly. 2013 Jul 7;143:w13820. doi: 10.4414/smw.2013.13820.

Implementation status of error disclosure standards reported by Swiss hospitals.

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  • 1Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University Basel, Switzerland. s.mclennan@unibas.ch

Abstract

QUESTION UNDER STUDY:

To establish at what stage Swiss hospitals are in implementing an internal standard concerning communication with patients and families after an error that resulted in harm.

METHODS:

Hospitals were identified via the Swiss Hospital Association's website. An anonymous questionnaire was sent during September and October 2011 to 379 hospitals in German, French or Italian. Hospitals were asked to specify their hospital type and the implementation status of an internal hospital standard that decrees that patients or their relatives are to be promptly informed about medical errors that result in harm.

RESULTS:

Responses from a total of 205 hospitals were received, a response rate of 54%. Most responding hospitals (62%) had an error disclosure standard or planned to implement one within 12 months. The majority of responding university and acute care (75%) hospitals had introduced a disclosure standard or were planning to do so. In contrast, the majority of responding psychiatric, rehabilitation and specialty (53%) clinics had not introduced a standard.

CONCLUSION:

It appears that Swiss hospitals are in a promising state in providing institutional support for practitioners disclosing medical errors to patients. This has been shown internationally to be one important factor in encouraging the disclosure of medical errors. However, many hospitals, in particular psychiatric, rehabilitation and specialty clinics, have not implemented an error disclosure policy. Further research is needed to explore the underlying reasons.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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