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Disclosure: Medical Errors

  • By: Annegret F. Hannawa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The investigation of communication competencies in the context of medical error disclosure has attracted significant research interest in numerous academic disciplines since the publication of the renowned Harvard Medical Practice Studies in 1991. Preliminary empirical evidence has successfully associated numerous therapeutic and relational benefits with effective disclosures. However, the results remain inconclusive until severe methodological limitations of the research findings are addressed. Furthermore, communication theory will be needed to integrate the data and translate the findings to frontline medical practice. Thus, medical error disclosure is an important new area for health communication inquiry that offers great potential to affect health outcomes and enhance quality of care.

At least 98,000 patients die and more than 1.3 million patients are injured in U.S. hospitals every year by medical ...

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