Steve Kraman on medical errors: Risk management: extreme honesty may be the best policy.

1999 Dec 21;131(12):963-7.

Risk management: extreme honesty may be the best policy.

Abstract

This paper reviews a humanistic risk management policy that includes early injury review, steadfast maintenance of the relationship between the hospital and the patient, proactive full disclosure to patients who have been injured because of accidents or medical negligence, and fair compensation for injuries. The financial consequences of this type of policy are not yet known; however, one Veterans Affairs medical center, which has been using humanistic risk management since 1987, has had encouragingly moderate liability payments. The Department of Veterans Affairs now requires such a policy for all of its facilities; therefore, comprehensive experience may be only a few years away.