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Hobgood, Cherri; Xie, Jipan; Weiner, Bryan J.; & Hooker, James (2004). Error Identification, Disclosure, and Reporting: Practice Patterns of Three Emergency Medicine Provider Types. Academic Emergency Medicine, 11(2), 196-199.


Objectives: To gather preliminary data on how the three major types of emergency medicine (EM) providers, physicians, nurses (RNs), and out-of-hospital personnel (EMTs), differ in error identification, disclosure, and reporting.
Methods: A convenience sample of emergency department (ED) providers completed a brief survey designed to evaluate error frequency, disclosure, and reporting practices as well as error-based discussion and educational activities.
Results: One hundred sixteen subjects participated: 41 EMTs (35%), 33 RNs (28%), and 42 physicians (36%). Forty-five percent of EMTs, 56% of RNs, and 21% of physicians identified no clinical errors during the preceding year. When errors were identified, physicians learned of them via dialogue with RNs (58%), patients (13%), pharmacy (35%), and attending physicians (35%). For known errors, all providers were equally unlikely to inform the team caring for the patient. Disclosure to patients was limited and varied by provider type (19% EMTs, 23% RNs, and 74% physicians). Disclosure education was rare, with 15% of any provider type receiving such instruction. Yet, 59% of physicians had observed another provider disclose an error to a patient. Error discussions are widespread, with all providers indicating they discussed their own as well as the errors of others.
Conclusions: This study suggests that error identification, disclosure, and reporting challenge all members of the ED care delivery team. Provider-specific education and enhanced teamwork training will be required to further the transformation of the ED into a high-reliability organization.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Academic Emergency Medicine


Hobgood, Cherri
Xie, Jipan
Weiner, Bryan J.
Hooker, James