Nurturing a culture of patient safety and achieving lower malpractice risk through disclosure: lessons learned and future directions

Front Health Serv Manage. 2012 Spring;28(3):13-28.


In mid-2001 and early 2002, the University of Michigan Health System systematically changed the way it responded to patient injuries and medical malpractice claims. Michigan adopted a proactive, principle-based approach, described as an "open disclosure with offer" model, built on a commitment to honesty and transparency. Implementation was followed by steady reduction in the number of claims and various other metrics, such as elapsed time for processing claims, defense costs, and average settlement amounts. Though the model continues to evolve, it has retained its core components and the culture it nurtured while spurring other initiatives such as a unique approach to peer review. In this article we review our experience, identify the essential practical components of our model, offer suggestions for tailoring the approach to other settings, and present some thoughts as to the future of this approach.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Malpractice*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Safety Management*
  • Truth Disclosure*