Thursday, May 12, 2005

JCAHO - Health Care At The Crossroads

Strategies for Improving the Medical Liability System and Preventing Patient Injury
published 2/05.

The liability system supports a “wall of silence” -- discouraging disclosure and inhibiting efforts to create cultures of safety inside health care organizations and among practitioners. Creating cultures of safety within health care and improving quality and access -- indeed, making health care truly better -- requires that legal and medical institutions work together.9 In order to frame the complex factors and issues that need to be addressed in order to accomplish such alignment, the Joint Commission convened an expert Roundtable. Among the principal specific issues addressed by the Roundtable were the extent to which the current medical liability system undermines or supports patient safety, and if, indeed, it undermines patient safety, are effective remedial actions possible? Further, if the aforementioned dissonance is serious and real, what short-term steps should be taken to moderate the negative impacts of the system? And finally, what potential long-term alternatives to the current tort system should be considered and how might they best be pursued? This white paper represents a culmination of these discussions.