To Improve Patient Satisfaction

“Physicians may not be providing the information or emotional support that patients seek following harmful medical errors. Physicians should strive to meet patients’ desires for an apology and for information on the nature, cause, and prevention of errors. Institutions should also address the emotional needsof practitioners who are involved in medical errors.”

Gallagher, T., Waterman, A., Ebers, A., Fraser, V., and Levinson, W., Patients’ and Physicians’ Attitudes Regarding the Disclosure of Medical Errors. JAMA, Feb. 2003, 289:1001-07

“The strength of physician-patient relationships in primary care — as indicated by patients’ trust in their physician, their assessment of how well the physician knows them, and the quality of communication and interpersonal treatment — was the leading predictor of patients’ loyalty to their primary physician’s practice.  Continuity of care also significantly predicted voluntary disenrollment.”

Safran, D., Montgomery, J., Change, H., Murphy, J., Rogers, W. Switching Doctors:  Predictors of Voluntary Disenrollment from a Primary Physician’s Practice, J Fam Pract, 2001; 50:130-36

Patients and their families are aware of the level of teamwork and collaboration within a unit and this is a primary basis for referring others to the facility for care.

Press Ganey Satisfaction Report, Vol. VII, August 2003
Found at:

Research has consistently demonstrated that patients and families want five things when there has been an unanticipated outcome:

  • An understanding of what happened
  • Acknowledgment or demonstration of empathy for what they are going through (apology if appropriate)
  • Someone to take responsibility
  • To know that something is being done to prevent recurrence of the event to them or others
  • To not have extra costs because of any errors

Gallagher, 2003; Wear, 2003; VHA National Ethics Committee, 2003; O’Connell, 2002; Marcus, 2002; Cohen, 2000; Vincent, 1994; Hickson, 1992