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Overview


I don't make mistakes so why worry?

Sometimes, despite a physician's dedication and commitment to excellence, the patient's outcome is not what was expected and may be entirely unanticipated. The human condition is fallible. It's just the way we are.

Medical students should assume that adverse events (accidents in Québec) and near misses will occur in the course of their training and at some point in their medical practices. Healthcare providers should be prepared to take appropriate action to mitigate harm to the patient, ensure that disclosure takes place, and take steps to prevent recurrences.

Objectives


After completing this domain you will be able to:
  • Explain the difference between a medical error and a matter of judgment.
  • Describe the important elements of the disclosure road map.
  • Describe at least 2 common approaches to quality improvement.
  • Discuss 4 ways a physician can constructively cope with stress due to poor patient outcomes, complaints or legal actions.

Terminology

Several different terms may be used to identify harm from healthcare delivery.

Adverse event and accident (used in Québec) include harm from:
  • recognized risks inherent in investigations or treatments
  • system failures
  • performance issues of an individual provider
Patient safety incident (used by WHO ICPS) includes harm from:
  • system failures
  • performance issues of an individual provider

For more information see Reasons for harm.

Topics and case studies

Errors and matters of judgment

Errors and matters of judgment

Even good doctors make mistakes
Disclosure

Disclosure

Maintaining trust
Quality improvement

Quality improvement

Learning from adverse events (accidents in Québec)
Managing stress

Managing stress

Building resilience
Quick answers

Quick answers

Questions from our physician members
Test yourself

Test yourself

Check your knowledge