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Admission of errors needs improvement in health care

Any person in Pennsylvania who may have ever been concerned that a doctor or other health care provider did not properly diagnose or treat a situation or condition knows how important it is that these medical professionals be honest. Medical mistakes can and do happen and while that is a problem unto itself, there is an additional problem that comes in the form of a provider's lack of willingness to admit or disclose such a mistake. Put together, these actions or inactions can create an even bigger problem.

Research conducted at the University of Pennsylvnia School of Medicine suggests that much more work is needed to get physicians willing and able to come forward after an error is made. Some efforts and progress have been made with models like the Disclosure, Apology and Offer approach but the researchers assert models like these focus predominately on the financial and legal ramifications of a medical mistake.

Efforts should also focus on the more human side of things and address a physician's fears and even feelings of shame and guilt that may be associated with proactively admitting an error. Learning may be possibleg with the use of standardized patients, people who essentially act as harmed patients to simulate experiences in which physicians can get almost real-life opportunities to practice offering admissions and apologies.

While the medical community continues to find ways to increase transparency to consumers, Pennsylvania residents who believe that a medical error may have been made involving them or their loved ones might want to talk with an attorney to learn how to proceed.

Source: Science Daily, "To curb medical errors, physicians must be better trained to admit mistakes," May 19, 2017

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