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Maintaining trust

Post-analysis disclosure

Male physician speaking with male patientAfter an appropriate analysis has taken place, any additional facts related to the reasons why harm resulted should be discussed with the patient. These reasons may include:
  • factors related to an underlying medical condition
  • recognized and unavoidable risks inherent in an investigation or treatment
  • system failures
  • problems in provider performance
  • a combination of any of these

Post-analysis disclosure in community practice

In office or clinic settings, the supervising physician or the physician managing the clinic is likely to lead this discussion.

Patients usually appreciate learning of any changes made within the practice to prevent reoccurrences of an adverse event (accident in Québec).

Post-analysis disclosure in hospital and institutional settings

If the analysis reveals that the adverse event was the result of a system failure, the hospital or institution leaders (i.e. management) are likely to be responsible for the post-analysis disclosure. They determine what information will be disclosed to the patient at this stage.

However, if the patient and the providers so choose, the hospital or institution should still provide the physician, and other providers involved in the event, with an opportunity to participate in these discussions.

Limitations on what information can be shared with patients may exist.

The post-analysis disclosure in hospitals and institutions must consider any restrictions or requirements on information exchange that might apply due to provincial/territorial legislation, regulations, institutional/hospital by-laws and policies, and legal privilege.