Here is a report on the positive benefits of an active apology policy in a large hospital system. This article reports on the experience at the University of Michigan Health System. It confirms what I’ve long suspected. By admitting errors, apologizing, and paying early compensation, the University of Michigan system has cut claim numbers and claim costs in half.
Wow! As an attorney who represents injured patients, I think this represents great news. While there’s a lot of talk radio heat about medical negligence cases, any attorney who has handled them will tell you a different stories. They’re tough and stressful cases for the patients and their families, not to mention for the lawyers. The medical liability industry has done a great job of digging in against legitimate claims. As a result, many claims with merit simply get turned away.
The other thing is that many patients simply want the one thing that the medical system won’t give them. An apology is a powerful thing. But the medical liability industry has mistakenly concluded that apologizing is a bad idea. Talk about writing up an order for a lawsuit.
The U. of Michigan system provides a promising model. Maybe this really is an era of change?