Maryland Disclosure Program
Albert Wu, MD, MPH
Albert Wu, MD, MPH is a practicing internist and professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is interested in improving the quality and safety of medical care, and how medical errors are handled when they occur. Albert Wu has argued since the early 1990’s that physicians are obligated to tell patients and families about medical errors.
How the Program Came to Be
All can agree that when disclosure is required, it is important to patients, doctors and institutions that the discussion be handled with sensitivity and skill. However, disclosure is not currently part of the health care curriculum, and most physicians have never been trained in what to say. Dr. Wu saw the need for a toolkit to help doctors prepare for these discussions
Dr. Wu produced an educational video for physicians, produced in 2004, entitled Removing Insult From Injury: Disclosing Adverse Events. The video includes discussions by Sorrel King, patient safety expert Dr. Peter Pronovost, and Richard Kidwell, Esq. The package also includes cases in which the doctor attempts to disclose an error to the patient or family member, as well as additional training materials that might be used by a facilitator, including discussion points and references.
Why It Makes Sense
The ability to communicate difficult news is not a skill that comes naturally for many people. Neither is it formally part of traditional medical training. The toolkit fills this gap.
Who Else is Implementing
Each hospital in Maryland is developing an organization-specific way to incorporate the toolkit into training and practice. Dr. Wu and Sorrel presented the video to the 3rd Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference – Keeping our Patients Safe in March 2007.
How Other Hospitals Can Implement
How the Josie King Foundation Contributes
Dr. Albert Wu asked to film Sorrel King talking about the importance of disclosure, so that medical caregivers could gain a better understanding of the patient’s perspective as they develop their skills to disclose a medical error.The Josie King Foundation sponsored the production of the toolkits and their distribution to every hospital in Maryland.