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BMC Med Educ. 2017 Mar 4;17(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-0880-9.

Improving disclosure of medical error through educational program as a first step toward patient safety.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Choong Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Seoul National University College of Medicine, Office of Medical Education, 103 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-799, Republic of Korea.
Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Republic of Korea.
Department of Surgery, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do, Republic of Korea.



Although physicians believe that medical errors should be disclosed to patients and their families, they often hesitate to do so. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of an education program for medical error disclosure.


In 2015, six medical interns and 79 fourth-year medical students participated in this study. The education program included practice of error disclosure using a standardized patient scenario, feedback, and short didactic sessions. Participant performance was evaluated with a previously developed rating scale that measures error disclosure performance on five specific component skills. Following education program, we surveyed participant perceptions of medical error disclosure with varying severity of error outcome and their satisfaction with the education program using a 5-point Likert scale. We also surveyed the change of attitude or confidence of participants after education program.


The performance score was not significantly different between medical interns and medical students (pā€‰=ā€‰0.840). Following the education program, 65% of participants said that they had become more confident in coping with medical errors, and most participants (79.7%) were satisfied with the education program. They also indicated that they felt a greater duty to disclose medical errors and deliver an apology when the medical error outcome is more severe.


An education program for disclosing medical errors was helpful in improving confidence in medical error disclosure. Extending the program to more diverse scenarios and a more diverse group of physicians is needed.


Communication; Medical education; Medical error disclosure; Simulation

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