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A project to examine and strengthen health care incident disclosure communication

Funding: 2012: $58,000
2013: $60,000
2014: $52,000

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (Other funds for ARC projects)
Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)

Start year: 2012

Summary: This project examines how health care practitioners are communicating or avoiding communicating health care incident information to patients (or their relatives). The last decade has seen several states and nations adopt disclosure policies that require clinicians and services to become frank with their patients about incidents. These policies have had limited effect however on clinician's inclination to disclose incidents. There are a number of barriers to disclosure including fears of legal prosecution and organisational complexity that this research will examine. The project aims to bridge the existing communication divide between clinicians who feel constrained in what they say and who default to limited or no-disclosure, and patient-consumers who expect and deserve openness and restorative action from the service when an incident results in harm. This project will map disclosure communication in its aim to enhance clinician-patient and clinician-clinician dialogue about health care incidents. The project will encompass interviews with patients, family members and clinicians who have been involved in a health care incident. For more information or to participate please visit:

Keywords: clinical incidentsincident disclosurehealth communicationvisual methodsparticipatory enquiry

FOR Codes: Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society, Sociology not elsewhere classified, Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified, Health Policy Evaluation, Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified, Sociology not elsewhere classified , Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified, Public health not elsewhere classified, Expanding knowledge in Indigenous studies, Expanding knowledge in human society