The Role of the Law in Communicating Patient Safety

Piper, Donella, Cockburn, Tina, Madden, Bill, Vines, Prue, McIlwraith, Janine, & Watson, Ngaire (2015) The Role of the Law in Communicating Patient Safety. In Iedema, Rick, Piper, Donella, & Mandis, Marie (Eds.) Communicating Quality and Safety in Health Care. Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, VIC.

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Abstract

This chapter considers the role of the law in communicating patient safety. Downie, Lahey, Ford, et al’s (2006) preventing, knowing and responding theoretical framework is adopted to classify the different elements of patient safety law. Rather than setting out all relevant patient safety laws in detail, this chapter highlights key legal strategies which are employed to: prevent the occurrence of patient safety incidents (preventing); support the discovery and open discussion of patient safety incidents when they do occur (knowing),; and guide responses after they occur (responding) (Downie, Lahey, Ford, et al 2006). The law is increasingly being invoked to facilitate open discussion of and communication surrounding patient safety.

After highlighting some legal strategies used to communicate patient safety, two practice examples are presented. The practice examples highlight different aspects of patient safety law and are indicative of communication issues commonly faced in practice. The first practice example focuses on the role of the Ccoroner in communicating patient safety. This example highlights the investigative role of the law in relation to patient safety (knowing). It also showcases the preventing responding and preventing elements in respect of the significant number of communication errors that can occur in a multi-disciplinary, networked health system. The main focus of the second practice example is responding example illustrates how the law responds to health service providers’ and professionals’ miscommunication (and subsequent incidents) during treatment, however it also touches upon knowing and preventing.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 89988
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: healthcare communication, patient safety law, medical litigation, coronial law, health law
ISBN: 9781107699328
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Cambridge University Press
Deposited On: 05 Nov 2015 02:18
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2015 02:55

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