Sorry Works!

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Sorry Works! to Launch Campaign to Educate Patients and Families about Disclosure for Medical Errors

Pilot Programs to Be Launched in St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Oregon during 2017

Edwardsville, IL…..Sorry Works!, the nation’s leading advocacy and training organization for disclosure of medical errors, is launching a new campaign to educate patients and families about disclosure of medical errors.

“Over the last 12 years, Sorry Works! has trained thousands of healthcare, insurance, and legal professionals across the United States about disclosure and apology for medical errors.  We have taught doctors, nurses, and nursing homes how to say sorry, stay connected with patients and families after something goes wrong, and be accountable,” said Doug Wojcieszak, Sorry Works! Founder.  “There is much more work to do with clinicians, but we also need to educate patients and families about disclosure and apology too.”

“In fact, we believe that when patients and families are educated about disclosure and apology and talk about it with their doctors or nursing homes, this will speed the implementation of disclosure within healthcare systems,” added Wojcieszak. “When doctors are asked by patients ‘Will you apologize if something goes wrong?’ then those same doctors will be asking their hospitals and insurers for training and support.”  

Studies published in summer 2016 estimate that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet another set of studies released in late 2016 show that the majority of physicians would still be reluctant to disclose or apologize for potential errors.  Moreover, there is a general perception with the public that doctors will cover up mistakes. 

“Hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities will become safer when doctors and nurses openly talk about mistakes and learn from them, and the public must demand this.  Educating the public about this important issue is critical,” said Wojcieszak.  “And data from the around the nation shows when doctors and nurses talk about errors, apologize, and take responsibility, the desire to file a lawsuit decreases dramatically.”

Sorry Works! has developed content to educate patients and families about disclosure and apology, including a one-page flyer that provides questions to ask doctors or nursing homes when meeting for the first time.  Sorry Works! developed another one-page flyer as well as a booklet and YouTube videos for patients and families who may have experienced medical errors.  Finally, Sorry Works! has developed a flyer for physicians to educate patients and families about disclosure and apology. 
Sorry Works! will be launching their education campaign in test markets in 2017, starting with St. Louis, then Cincinnati and Oregon.  Sorry Works! will reach-out to local media and groups, including AARP chapters and other public service organizations to spread the message. 

“We have developed a lot of great content to educate patients and families, and, beginning in St. Louis, we will spread the word through local organizations as well as the St. Louis media, social media, and other means,” said Wojcieszak.