UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Building bridges: future directions for medical error disclosure research

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Bioethics and Medical Ethics


OBJECTIVE: The disclosure of medical errors has attracted considerable research interest in recent years. However, the research to date has lacked interdisciplinary dialog, making translation of findings into medical practice challenging. This article lays out the disciplinary perspectives of the fields of medicine, ethics, law and communication on medical error disclosure and identifies gaps and tensions that occur at these interdisciplinary boundaries.

METHODS: This article summarizes the discussion of an interdisciplinary error disclosure panel at the 2012 EACH Conference in St. Andrews, Scotland, in light of the current literature across four academic disciplines.

RESULTS: Current medical, ethical, legal and communication perspectives on medical error disclosure are presented and discussed with particular emphasis on the interdisciplinary gaps and tensions.

CONCLUSION: The authors encourage interdisciplinary collaborations that strive for a functional approach to understanding and improving the disclosure of medical errors with the ultimate goal to improve quality and promote safer medical care.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Interdisciplinary collaborations are needed to reconcile the needs of the stakeholders involved in medical error disclosure. A particular challenge is the effective translation of error disclosure research into practice. Concrete research questions are provided throughout the manuscript to facilitate a resolution of the tensions that currently impede interdisciplinary progress.


Interdisciplinary research, Medical error disclosure, Translational research

DOI of Published Version



Hannawa AF, Beckman H, Mazor KM, Paul N, Ramsey JV. Building bridges: future directions for medical error disclosure research. Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Sep;92(3):319-27. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.05.017. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Patient education and counseling

PubMed ID