MedStar Health Is a Leader in Patient-Family Communications and Disclosure | MedStar Health

MedStar Health Is a Leader in Patient-Family Communications and Disclosure

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COLUMBIA, Md.— MedStar Health is in the vanguard of health systems across the country that are embracing transparency and adopting practices to immediately communicate with patients and families—and other members of the care team—when something goes wrong. MedStar has been following the principles of communication and disclosure for several years, and was asked to develop and pilot the toolkit for the Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) program of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ made the toolkit available today to hospitals and health leaders at no charge to encourage transparency everywhere.

MedStar researchers and patient safety experts based their work on the “Seven Pillars” of patient safety which are:

  • Occurrence reporting
  • Assessment and investigation
  • Communication
  • Disclosure and apology
  • Process or performance improvement
  • Data analysis
  • Education

“Dealing with patient harm transparently and forthrightly is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said David Mayer, MD, MedStar vice president for Quality and Safety. “Learning from error and making improvements are essential to the process. Caring for the caregiver, as well as the grieving patient and family, in these difficult circumstances is also an important component,” he said. Since MedStar Health began using CANDOR principles, the health system has seen its rate of serious safety events cut in half. Even though this is significant progress, MedStar’s goal is Zero Harm, said Dr. Mayer.

Seth Krevat, MD, assistant vice president for Safety and the leader in implementing CANDOR practices across MedStar, says that a key element for the program’s success is a culture of transparency, which has not historically existed in health care. “We are changing the culture at MedStar,” he said, “and the key elements are buy-in from the top, which we have completely, and empowering our people through training, simulation and support.”

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit