Medical Error Self-Reporting Stifled by Fears of Retaliation

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 6, 2011

Where it can get tricky, however, is with the repeat offenders, the worker who repeatedly makes serious medical errors that could endanger patients. Sometimes, those honest errors point to an unpleasant reality.

"Clearly if we had an employee that had multiple errors, ultimately you might have to get past retraining and have a discussion about if they're cut out for that kind of work," Lovering says. "We have been fortunate and not had to go down that road with our staff yet."

AtlantiCare's programs to ease staff anxiety about self-reporting medical errors are similar to the efforts of hundreds of other hospitals across the country. This is not a new issue. So why is there such a high level of distrust among staff, several years into these initiatives? How much of it is residual, and how much of it is warranted?  

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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