Communication & Resolution Programs

Communication and Resolution Programs (CRPs) are a principled, comprehensive, and systematic approach for responding to unintended patient harm.

Despite the best training and intentions of healthcare professionals, about 1 in 10 patients is harmed by the care they receive. When healthcare institutions respond unsympathetically and with limited information, it compounds the pain for patients, families, and healthcare providers. More importantly, a lack of transparency can inhibit the institution’s ability to prevent similar harm in the future.

CRPs offer healthcare institutions a more compassionate, patient-centered resolution process that ultimately improves safety for patients in the future. A series of steps—taken by clinicians, risk managers, quality improvement leaders, healthcare leaders, and others when a patient is harmed—guide healthcare institutions in moving towards an accepted resolution by everyone involved. Candid, empathetic communication and timely resolution for patient and caregivers, coupled with accountability and learning to prevent such events from recurring are at the core of the CRP process. The benefits accrue to everyone.

CRPs lead to an understanding of what went wrong, create an environment of trust and respect with the patient or family, and come to an accepted resolution that improves quality of care.

At its highest level, the CRP process involves:

  • Reporting incidents of harm immediately
  • Conducting a rapid investigation of what happened
  • Sharing a full and complete explanation about the event with the patient and family
  • Providing psychosocial support for the patient, family and involved clinicians
  • Offering apologies
  • Proactively offering compensation for care that was found to be below the standard of care
  • Ensuring that lessons are learned to prevent recurrences