Remedies sought and obtained in healthcare complaints.
ABSTRACT In the wake of adverse events, injured patients and their families have a complex range of needs and wants. The tort system, even when operating at its best, will inevitably fall far short of addressing them. In Australia and New Zealand, government-run health complaints commissions take a more flexible and expansive approach to providing remedies for patients injured by or disgruntled with care. Unfortunately, survey research has shown that many patients in these systems are dissatisfied with their experience. We hypothesised that an important explanation for this dissatisfaction is an 'expectations gap'; discordance between what complainants want and what they eventually get out of the process. Analysing a sample of complaints relating to informed consent from the Commission in Victoria (Australia's second largest state, with 5.2 million residents), we found evidence of such a gap. One-third (59/189) of complainants who sought restoration received it; 1 in 5 complainants (17/101) who sought correction received assurances that changes had been or would be made to reduce the risk of others suffering a similar harm; and fewer than 1 in 10 (3/37) who sought sanctions saw steps taken to achieve this outcome initiated. We argue that bridging the expectations gap would go far toward improving patient satisfaction with complaints systems, and suggest several ways this might be done.
- SourceAvailable from: coloradopatientsafety.org[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Despite the best efforts of health care practitioners, medical errors are inevitable. Disclosure of errors to patients is desired by patients and recommended by ethicists and professional organizations, but little is known about how patients and physicians think medical errors should be discussed. To determine patients' and physicians' attitudes about error disclosure. Thirteen focus groups were organized, including 6 groups of adult patients, 4 groups of academic and community physicians, and 3 groups of both physicians and patients. A total of 52 patients and 46 physicians participated. Qualitative analysis of focus group transcripts to determine the attitudes of patients and physicians about medical error disclosure; whether physicians disclose the information patients desire; and patients' and physicians' emotional needs when an error occurs and whether these needs are met. Both patients and physicians had unmet needs following errors. Patients wanted disclosure of all harmful errors and sought information about what happened, why the error happened, how the error's consequences will be mitigated, and how recurrences will be prevented. Physicians agreed that harmful errors should be disclosed but "choose their words carefully" when telling patients about errors. Although physicians disclosed the adverse event, they often avoided stating that an error occurred, why the error happened, or how recurrences would be prevented. Patients also desired emotional support from physicians following errors, including an apology. However, physicians worried that an apology might create legal liability. Physicians were also upset when errors happen but were unsure where to seek emotional support. Physicians may not be providing the information or emotional support that patients seek following harmful medical errors. Physicians should strive to meet patients' desires for an apology and for information on the nature, cause, and prevention of errors. Institutions should also address the emotional needs of practitioners who are involved in medical errors.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 03/2003; 289(8):1001-7. · 29.98 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study examines the relationship between perceived justice, emotions, and satisfaction during service recovery (SR). The current research work proposes a model analyzing the direct effects of justice on satisfaction, along with its indirect effects, via emotions. A field study that captures consumer perceptions of actual SR situations in the cellular-telephone sector tests the model. The paper investigates the relative effects of the dimensions of perceived justice on satisfaction and the emotions triggered by SR. Results indicate that all three justice dimensions affect satisfaction, with procedural justice showing the strongest relative influence, as well as being the only dimension affecting the emotions. Results also show that negative emotions mediate the effects of justice on satisfaction with SR (SSR).Journal of Business Research. 01/2009;
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Unlike Canada's medical malpractice system, patients in New Zealand who are dissatisfied with the quality of their care may choose between 2 well-established medicolegal paths: one leads to monetary compensation and the other to nonmonetary forms of accountability. We compared the forms of accountability sought by patients and families in New Zealand who took different types of legal action following a medical injury. This study offers insights into the forms of accountability sought by injured patients and may help to inform tort-reform initiatives. We reviewed compensation claims submitted to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), New Zealand's national no-fault insurer, following injuries associated with admission to a public hospital in 1998 (n = 582). We also reviewed complaint letters (n = 254) submitted to the national Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) that same year to determine the forms of accountability sought by injured patients. We used univariable and multivariable analyses to compare sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics of patients who sought nonmonetary forms of accountability with those of patients who claimed compensation. Of 154 injured patients whose complaints were sufficiently detailed to allow coding, 50% sought corrective action to prevent similar harm to future patients (45% system change, 6% review of involved clinician's competence) and 40% wanted more satisfying communication (34% explanation, 10% apology). The odds that patients would seek compensation were significantly increased if they were in their prime working years (aged between 30 and 64 years) (odds ratio [OR] 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-2.41) or had a permanent disability as a result of their injury (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.14-2.70). When injuries resulted in death, the odds of a compensation claim to the ACC were about one-eighth those of a complaint to the HDC (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.08-0.23). Injured patients who pursue medicolegal action seek various forms of accountability. Compensation is important to some, especially when economic losses are substantial (e.g., with injury during prime working years or severe nonfatal injuries). However, others have purely nonmonetary goals, and ensuring alternative options for redress would be an efficient and effective response to their needs.Canadian Medical Association Journal 11/2006; 175(8):889-94. · 6.47 Impact Factor