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Criticism of CRPs has interesting patient safety implications

Approaches to patient safety within the healthcare community are increasingly being influenced by implementation and analysis of CRPs. CRP is shorthand for communication-and-resolution program. This vague-sounding title refers to a specific kind of response that liability insurers and hospitals take in regards to any negative and unexpected outcome that a patient experiences when given medical care.

When patients suffer harm as a result of these adverse events, which may or may not be the result of medical malpractice, a CRP protocol may be initiated. Generally, CRP protocols involve reporting that an adverse event has occurred and harmed a patient, informing the patient and/or the patient’s family of the adverse event and reviewing the event for issues of fault, error, harm and loss. Apologies may or may not be part of this process. In addition, each organization is prompted to learn from any preventable errors that may be discovered in the course of review.

In general, a fairly standard CRP process seems to have positive patient safety implications. After all, numerous studies have confirmed that reporting medical errors, transparency and thorough review of medical errors all help to improve patient safety in the long-run. However, critics of CRP protocols are understandably concerned about the patient safety implications of CRPs which are conducted inadequately or are otherwise not taken seriously.

It is not enough to simply have a CRP protocol in place. Healthcare providers need to embrace the process as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to collaborate on ways to ensure that future patients do not suffer similar harm. CRP protocols provide a promising solution to preventable medical errors, but will only actually provide solutions when adhered to vigorously and with focused intention.

Source: The Huffington Post, “When It Comes to Liability and Patient Safety, What's Good for Hospitals Can Be Good for Patients,” Michelle Mello, Feb. 13, 2014

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