Patients Favor Doctors Who Disclose Potential Side Effects of Treatment

However, Only 40% of "Adverse Events" Are Disclosed in Hospital Settings
Disclosing Adverse Events

Patients are more likely to give medical staffs higher rankings when they have been informed of potential side effects of treatments, according to a new study adding that such disclosure is still surprisingly low in hospitalized settings.

As recently detailed in The Archives of Internal Medicine, nearly 2,300 medical and surgical acute care patients were randomly sampled in Massachusetts hospitals between April 1 and October 1, 2003, with 603 patients reporting approximately 845 adverse events, which refers to changes in health or side effects that occurred during or after treatment.

Based on the study’s findings, almost 1/3 of these adverse events were preventable, such as giving patients the wrong dose of medication, and only 40 percent of the adverse events were explained to patients by hospital staff. Consequently, patients were more likely to give lower-quality ratings for adverse events that were preventable, caused increased discomfort or were still affecting the patient at the time of the survey.

On the other hand, higher-quality rankings were associated with doctors who disclosed preventable and non-preventable events and with patients who felt that they could deal with an adverse event as a result of the information provided by medical staff.

According to one of the researchers, this study emphasizes how patients view truthfulness and disclosure as vital to high-quality health care.

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