Disclosure and Apology – Center for Professionalism and Peer Support

The process starts from the moment the clinician discusses an adverse event with the patient, and it may continue until well after the patient has been discharged. The support for the clinicians during this process is focused directly on the needs of the patient and family. The underlying premise is that clinicians need to tell patients what they know about the event when they know it. There is great debate nationally over the specifics of disclosure and it is, indeed, a difficult process. But as clinicians are encouraged to disclose, they need disclosure programs that actually help them navigate this complicated and charged territory so that they can continue to care for their patients when something goes wrong.
- J.Shapiro

If you need advice on disclosure and apology, contact:

  • Jo Shapiro, MD (617-525-9797/ jshapiro@partners.org /pager 12632)
  • Risk Management (617-264-3005/ pager 31557)

Disclosure and Apology: in conjunction with CRICO, the CPPS presents grand rounds in each department to discuss how to overcome the barriers to transparent and patient-centered disclosure and apology. 

Disclosure Coaches: clinicians trained to advise clinicians on how to disclose and apologize to patients when there has been an adverse event.

The Disclosure Coaching Team offers clinicians a support mechanism for having conversations with patients and family members after an adverse event. A disclosure coach can meet with the attending physician and other members of the health care team to prepare the clinicians for the initial disclosure conversation.

The disclosure team will be available for support and guidance on any communication with patients as well as any issues or questions related to disclosure or apology. The Disclosure Coaching Team consists of physicians, nurses and social workers, all of whom have been trained as disclosure coaches. They work closely with the Risk Management Department and the Center for Patients & Families in supporting the clinicians so that BWH clinicians can deliver transparent and empathic care to our patients and families.  This program is supported by CRICO/ RMF.

Contact our offices or Jo Shapiro directly (per above) and we will connect you with a trained disclosure coach.

Video Resources

Medical Error: A Case Based Approach to Apology and Disclosure
A video project developed by the Center for Professionalism and Peer Support in collaboration with the BWH Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation.

Apology and Disclosure Grand Rounds NWH
A video developed from Newton-Wellesley Hospital's Disclosure and Apology Grand Rounds featuring Dr. Shapiro as a discussant.

Additional Disclosure and Apology Resources


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