New toolkit available to aid provider-patient communication when harm is done

Three weeks after healthcare researchers revealed that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new online toolkit designed to help providers communicate with patients and loved ones when something goes wrong.

The toolkit builds off AHRQ’s existing “CANDOR” process, which “gives hospitals and health systems the tools to respond immediately when a patient is harmed and to promote candid, empathetic communication and timely resolution for patients and caregivers,” according to an announcement from the agency.  

CANDOR is an acronym for "communication and optimal resolution," and AHRQ says the methodology has been tested and applied in 14 hospitals after components were developed under a contract with the American Hospital Association.

Part of a $23 million initiative launched in 2009, the toolkit “doesn't prevent patients and families from pursuing lawsuits,” writes AHRQ director Andy Bindman, MD, who was appointed in late April, in a blog post. “Instead, it fosters open discussion with patients and families to resolve matters in a timely and appropriate manner.”

Click here to read Bindman’s blog and here to download the toolkit or any of its parts.