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Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Leadership Says They Do Disclosure Really Great.....Really?

When I speak at a hospital or insurer it's not uncommon for me to hear the following from leadership, including risk, legal, and claims personnel: "Hey, we already do disclosure great...we do everything you're talking about...we've spoken with other disclosure hospitals like Michigan, Stanford, and others...we're all over this!"

One part of me feels good, as 10 years ago when Sorry Works! started these same leadership types would be arguing with me about whether or not they should do disclosure. Now, they all claim to be experts in disclosure....but are they?

Usually, these same folks who swear they are fluent in disclosure begin asking me questions....

"We do great at the clear cut cases, but struggle with the 'gray cases' where we're not sure if there was a mistake or not. Unfortunately, these 'gray cases' make up the bulk of our adverse events. How do we handle 'gray cases' with disclosure?"

"What if the family disagrees with our assessment of the case?"

"Should we stay in touch with the family during the review process?"

"How do we determine the value of a case?"

And so, and so on, and so on....

Then I start asking questions, such as:

"How much do your front-line docs & nurses understand about disclosure? Do they know how to empathize and stay connected with families post-event without prematurely admitting fault?"

"Do you have a disclosure policy? When was it last updated? Have any doctors or nurses read the policy...do they even know the policy exists?"

I usually get lots of blank stares and silence when I ask these questions.

Look, talk is one thing - "We do disclosure great" - while having a real, working disclosure program is something entirely different. A true disclosure program has an updated and vibrant disclosure policy, has staff who are trained in empathy, and leadership who knows how to handle all cases, including gray cases. You really need a disclosure program before you can claim to be "great at disclosure."

At Sorry Works! we can help you develop a vibrant disclosure program, with consulting, presentations, train the trainer seminars, and great content for your staff. Our recently released "Pocket Notes" is great for front-line staff, and the "Little Book of Empathy" is geared towards managers and directors. Start your disclosure journey with Pocket Notes and Little Book of Empathy -- click here to order.

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