Communication-And-Resolution Programs

The Challenges and Lessons Learned From Six Early Adopters

HA January 2014

In communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs), health systems and liability insurers encourage the disclosure of unanticipated care outcomes to affected patients and proactively seek resolutions, including offering an apology, an explanation, and, where appropriate, reimbursement or compensation.

Anecdotal reports from the University of Michigan Health System and other early adopters of CRPs suggest that these programs can substantially reduce liability costs and improve patient safety. But little is known about how these early programs achieved success.

The researchers studied six CRPs to identify the major challenges in and lessons learned from implementing these initiatives. The CRP participants they interviewed identified several factors that contributed to their programs’ success, including the presence of a strong institutional champion, investing in building and marketing the program to skeptical clinicians, and making it clear that the results of such transformative change will take time. Many of the early CRP adopters they interviewed expressed support for broader experimentation with these programs even in settings that differ from their own, such as systems that do not own and control their liability insurer, and in states without strong tort reforms.