The new JCAHO patient safety standards and the disclosure of unanticipated outcomes. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

J Health Law. 2002 Spring;35(2):189-210.


This article looks at the newly-issued JCAHO standards and their increased focus on patient safety in performance standards for healthcare organizations. As part of these standards, hospitals are required to inform patients of outcomes of care, including unanticipated outcomes. This article examines this requirement and suggests varying interpretations of it. After looking at the current legal and ethical standards requiring disclosure of errors or negligent acts, the article suggests that hospitals are faced with many difficulties in implementing the standard. Specifically, the article argues that more details are necessary regarding what events must be reported and what hospitals are required to do when members of the medical staff refuse to inform patients of medical error.

Publication types

  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / standards
  • Ethics, Institutional
  • Fraud / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Hospitals / standards*
  • Humans
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations*
  • Liability, Legal
  • Medical Errors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Safety Management / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Safety Management / standards
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Truth Disclosure*
  • United States