Implementing Hospital-Based Communication-And-Resolution Programs Lessons Learned In New York City
Author: Michelle M. Mello, Susan K. Senecal, Yelena Kuznetsov, Janet S. Cohn
In 2010 five New York City hospitals implemented a communication-and-resolution program (CRP) in general surgery. The program’s goals were to improve reporting of serious adverse events to risk management, support clinical staff in discussing these events with patients, rapidly investigate why injuries occurred, communicate to patients what was discovered, and offer apologies and compensation when the standard of care was not met. We report the hospitals’ experiences with implementing the CRP over a twenty-two-month period. We found that all five hospitals improved disclosure and surveillance of adverse events but were not able to fully implement the program’s compensation component. These experiences suggest that strong support from top leadership at the hospital and insurer levels, and adequate staff resources, are critical for the success of CRPs. Hospitals considering adopting a CRP should ensure that their organizations can tolerate risk, their leaders are willing to reinforce CRP implementation, and resources are in place to educate clinical staff about how the program can benefit them.