Communication Resolution Programs (CRPs) are becoming more commonplace in hospitals, and for good reason. As the public’s awareness of patient harm caused by medical errors has grown exponentially over the past few decades, so, too, has the need for hospitals to have comprehensive programs to address this issue.
Given the complexity of medical care and how many healthcare professionals provide care for a single patient, it isn’t realistic to expect that serious medical errors will never occur at hospitals. In today’s environment, however, it is reasonable to expect that everything possible will be done to improve safety and prevent errors. It’s also fair to assume that when a serious adverse event does occur at a hospital, there’s an ethical, systematic process in place to deal with the medical error.
Best practices for hospital Communication and Resolution Programs should include:
- a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of the medical error
- transparent communication between the hospital and the patient and patient’s family
- an apology from the healthcare provider and/or hospital (when appropriate)
- proactive compensation for the patient
In evaluating patient harm, it’s not always readily apparent whether the harm came from a known complication of the treatment or procedure, or if the harm was preventable. That’s where our experienced legal nurse consultants come in. Thanks to extensive education, training, and experience, MRN nurse consultants can assist in the investigative process for medical errors, all the while working professionally and efficiently with the hospital team members who are involved in the Communication and Resolution process.
In a medical error investigation, we start with what really happened to cause the patient harm? What was the root cause of the medical error? Those answers – and more – can be hard to come by from the inside. As legal nurse consultants, however, we can conduct a thorough, timely, objective, and reliable investigation.
In the course of a typical medical error investigation, these are some of the services that we provide:
- uncover all relevant facts surrounding the error to discover the root cause
- provide a timeline of events that gives a “big picture” perspective
- determine whether there was a deviation in standard of care
- obtain expert reviews and facilitate quick report turnaround times
- assess exposure and potential liability
- evaluate steps that need to be taken to prevent similar recurrences
- review policies and procedures and make recommendations for improvements
Some medical errors can be rectified with a simple phone call, apologizing for the mistake. Others, understandably, are more complex and represent serious liability concerns and a pressing need for changes within the hospital.
As legal nurse consultants, in our years of working with hospitals to resolve adverse events, we’ve collaborated with teams and staff members across the organization, including:
- patient liaisons
- disclosure and resolution teams
- risk managers
- claims staff
Ideally, every hospital should have a Communication and Resolution program in place that’s efficient, transparent, productive, responsive to the needs of patient and staff, and designed to prevent harmful medical errors.
If you’d like assistance in setting up a Communication and Resolution Program for your hospital – or updating and improving the one you have – we can help with that as well.
Please note: Located in Portland, Oregon, we help hospitals and medical organizations across the United States. Our legal nurse consultants are certified by the AALNC.