Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patient Perception Is Vital When Reporting Medical Errors

Date:
September 1, 2009
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
When reporting medical errors, patients' perceptions of their physicians' disclosure may be key to gaining their trust, according to researchers. However, a positive perception of the disclosure has little effect on the lawsuit risk a physician faces.

When reporting medical errors, patients’ perceptions of their physicians’ disclosure may be key to gaining their trust, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. However, a positive perception of the disclosure has little effect on the lawsuit risk a physician faces.

Researchers examined volunteer responses to several videos depicting the disclosure of an adverse event along with variations in the extent to which a physician accepted responsibility. They found that a patient’s perception of what was said was more important than what was actually said by the physician. In addition, researchers found that in this study a full apology and acceptance of responsibility by the physician in error was associated with better ratings and greater trust. The results are published in the September 1, 2009, issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“Viewers were more likely to want to sue physicians that offered an incomplete apology or who did not accept responsibility,” said Albert Wu, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “When viewers thought that the doctor had apologized and taken responsibility, they gave the doctors much higher ratings with 81 percent of viewers reporting trusting the physician and 56 percent reporting they would refer the physician. However, despite the positive reaction to perceived apology or responsibility, viewers were only slightly less inclined to want to sue.”

Researchers showed 200 adult volunteers from Baltimore City videotaped vignettes that depicted physicians disclosing one of three adverse events to patients. The vignettes varied in the extent of their apology and acceptance of responsibility. Viewers were then asked to evaluate the physicians. Actors were used to create the adverse events including a year-long delay in noticing a malignant-looking lesion on a mammogram, a chemotherapy overdose ten-times the intended amount and a slow response to pages by a pediatric surgeon for a patient who eventually codes and is rushed to emergency surgery. Apology variations were full, non-specific and none, while responsibility variation was limited to full and none. Wu, along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Florida, examined the relationship between the designed and perceived variations to responses and to account for differences in viewer demographic characteristics.

“There is broad consensus that physicians and health care organizations should disclose adverse events to patients and their families. Our findings show that the perception of what is said is more strongly associated with how physicians were perceived,” said Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, a co-author of the study and professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Training is needed to help those in practice and training carry out the difficult task of disclosing adverse events. Moving forward, it will be important to evaluate the effectiveness of that training, including how it is perceived by patients and their families.”

The research was supported by the MCIC Vermont and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Albert Wu, I-Chan Huang, Samantha Stokes and Peter Pronovost. Disclosing Medical Errors to Patients: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2009; 24 (9): 1012 DOI: 10.1007/s11606-009-1044-3

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Patient Perception Is Vital When Reporting Medical Errors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901105140.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2009, September 1). Patient Perception Is Vital When Reporting Medical Errors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901105140.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Patient Perception Is Vital When Reporting Medical Errors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901105140.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins