Hospital safety blog takes medical errors public

Brigham and Women's hopes transparency will help prevent future errors
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Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital is publicly sharing stories about medical errors made at the hospital in a blog that officials hope will reduce the risk of future mistakes, Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality reported.

The previously internal "Safety Matters" blog went public in mid-2015 and features a monthly article describing a medical error or near miss at the hospital, Becker's reported. Written by patient safety and public affairs staffers, the topics are selected based on the opportunity to prevent similar events from occurring. The posts protect patient privacy, but provide a breakdown of what happened and subsequent efforts to prevent a recurrence, according to the article.

They also include a piece that examines whether actions align with the hospitals' safety culture framework.

By going public with stories of medical errors, Brigham and Women's is going against the "culture of secrecy" that most hospitals maintain over medical mistakes. Hospitals must report any major disciplinary actions against doctors to the National Practitioner Data Bank, but their names and where they work are not available to the public, as FierceHealthcare reported.

But some hospitals are creating programs to communicate with victims of medical errors and their families to be transparent about what happened and even offer apologies. One such program is at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California, which also waives the patient's medical bills and offers financial settlements, FierceHealthcare previously reported.