An adverse medical event greatly impacts patients’ physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. Medical professionals’ conduct after an adverse medical event can influence the severity of this impact. The way in which they communicate, how they explain what has happened and whether or not they empathize with the patient and/or their loved ones can have a long lasting effect. At the same time, an adverse medical event can be a traumatic event for the medical professional as well. This puts high demands on the skills of medical professionals during a time which is stressful for all parties involved.
In theory, there is evidence of what patients expect of their caregivers after an adverse medical event. In short: patients desire to have an open and honest conversation about what went wrong in their care, what will be done to minimize the damage, and how hospitals will learn from the event to prevent it from happening to others. Open communication after adverse events is widely endorsed, by caregivers and hospital leaders alike, in Dutch care. However, it is not yet clear how these demands should be organized in practice and how hospitals can secure open communication after an adverse event. In the OPEN Network, hospitals and experts work together to gain more insight into what works in such situations.
Through commitment to OPEN, the participating hospitals provide an insight into their own procedures and practices after adverse medical events and complaints. They are transparent as to what they organize and facilitate and point out to researchers what challenges they meet. The OPEN researchers translate, compare and analyze this information so that more aggregated knowledge is developed. In OPEN, insights and feedback from the hospitals are shared through network events. The researchers’ findings will be published periodically in blogs on the OPEN website www.openindezorg.nl, and written up in a final report.
The research group of OPEN consists of prof. Mr. Arno Akkermans (VU), prof. Mr. Johan Legemaate (AMC), prof. Dr. Ir. Roland Friele (NIVEL), Dr. Manja Bomhoff (NIVEL), mr. Berber Laarman (VU), Drs. Inge Mulders (Elkerliek Hospital) and mr. Katrijn Broekman (project consultant and also VUmc senior legal officer).