The aim of the Open Disclosure project was to evaluate a completely new approach to managing adverse medical events that occur within the health system in rural WA.
The study, conducted by Professor Alfred Allan from Edith Cowan University, looked at changing from the old legalistic adversarial approach to adverse events, to a new system of open disclosure (OD). This involves an open and frank discussion between health professionals and patients about what went wrong, why it happened and what should be done to prevent it from happening again.
Following two years of research a formal report was submitted to the Dept Health WA.
Open Disclosure was integrated into the WA Health Department’s ‘Strategic plan for safety and quality in health care 2008-2013’. The WA Health Department then released the ‘WA Open disclosure policy: Communication and disclosure requirements for health professionals working in Western Australia’ in May 2009 which was subsequently amended in July 2012.