Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital Opens Up About Medical Errors

In a move that should be hailed by all concerned with healthcare reform and safety, officials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have made a choice to discuss openly their medical mistakes so that they can determine how such errors occurred in the first place as well as the steps the hospital must take to avoid similar ones in the future. According to the Boston Globe, “Hospitals typically keep missteps like this quiet. But the Brigham openly recounted this mistake, and the improvements it led to, in a monthly online newsletter for its 16,000 employees. Brigham leaders started the publication to encourage staff to talk openly about their mistakes and propose solutions, and help make sure errors are not repeated. . . “Open-faced transparency is really valuable to staff at an institution because it causes them to know themselves better,” said Paul O’Neill, a member of the Lucian Leape Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Boston. But few, if any, other hospitals are doing anything like what the Brigham does, he said: “Unfortunately, I would say it’s highly unusual.”
This is a step in the right direction and I’m pleased it occurred in our backyard where many New Hampshire residents are treated for medical issues. Now, which hospitals have the courage and integrity to follow suit?