It’s Story Time: Unlocking the Learnings in Malpractice Settlements
Risk managers and the insurers with whom we work have the greatest opportunity in healthcare today to improve patient safety. Our most egregious mistakes become medical malpractice claims and lawsuits. Some of these go to trial where the outcome is public; however, the least defensible cases are settled without a trial. Almost every settlement includes a confidentiality or nondisclosure clause (NDC). Such clauses become “gag orders.” Providers who could learn from the mistake of a colleague do not, and the same mistake is repeated, often many times over.
The stories of these settlements are a rich source of learning, and it’s time to tell them—anonymously. No naming names, no disclosure of settlement amounts, no “blame and shame.” Stories are powerful, attention-grabbing, and memorable. Telling them is a unique opportunity to link the prevention of patient harm to the healing mission of healthcare and acknowledge the common wish of every plaintiff that “this won’t happen to someone else.”
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