Seminar discusses how to communicate adverse outcomes and errors

James Pichert 2Dr. James W. Pichert, Co-Director of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy at Vanderbilt University, presented The How and When of Communicating Adverse Outcomes and Errors” on Nov. 19. The seminar, hosted by the Georgia Regents University Medical Associates Risk Management Committee, covered a wide selection of topics ranging from identifying errors as they occur to disclosing accurate and effective information in the event of a crisis.

Designed to help health care professionals improve their communication and disclosure skills, the seminar has a long history of proven effectiveness. Pichert has hosted similar seminars in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

“The How and When of Communicating Adverse Outcomes and Errors” is a unique approach to educating health care professionals. Based around Vanderbilt CPPA’s “balance beam” approach, health care professionals are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons of their options when faced with disclosing information and judge for themselves how best to move forward.

Afterward, attendees are instructed and encouraged to host similar seminars and workshops at their home institutions. The ultimate goal of Pichert’s seminar is to improve institution-wide communication and alleviate the fear of disclosing information after errors or mistakes occur.

For more information about Vanderbilt University’s Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, visit