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New Federal Program Asks Hospitals for Honesty in Reporting Medical Errors

By Jack H. FarnbauchNovember 27, 2016

Getting accurate information on medical errors in U.S. hospitals is very difficult to do. Hospitals deny wrongdoing, omit families and victims from internal investigations, and hide information. Hospital staffs review medical errors in private conferences. This means attorneys for the injured or the families of patients who died can't get them.

But there looks to be a new Federal agency that is trying to fix this.There is a new approach promoted by a Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This is explicitly aimed at saving hospitals money on malpractice litigation while encouraging more robust scrutiny of what went wrong. It also aims to support patients, families, and clinicians after an event that can be traumatic for all involved. It's called Communication and Optimal Resolution, or Candor for short, and was developed with a $23 million federal research grant and tested at 14 hospitals in three health systems. The Agency is currently developing and testing an improved patient safety surveillance system.

This new approach is believed to be a response to the medical malpractice crisis. Fifteen years ago, a report form the Institute of Medicine, To Err Is Human, revealed the extent of medical errors that occur in U.S. hospitals. Safety experts realized that hospitals needed to understand specifically how and where adverse events were occurring in order to prevent them.

You can read more about this new agency here.