Sharing ideas on Risk, Human Performance, Teams and Leaders

Gerald Hickson

Listening to families

Professor Hickson M.D. is Joseph C. Ross Chair in Medical Education and Administration, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, Professor of Paediatrics and Associate Professor of Family and Health Systems Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Since 1990, Dr Hickson's research has focussed on why families choose to file suit, why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of claims and how to identify and intervene with high risk physicians. His work has resulted in over 100 peer reviewed articles and chapters, the creation of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy (CPPA), the development of the PARS peer-review system, currently used at 34 institutions across the country and several educational initiatives to promote disclosure of medical errors and address the disruptive professional.Professor Hickson M.D. is Joseph C. Ross Chair in Medical Education and Administration, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, Professor of Paediatrics and Associate Professor of Family and Health Systems Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.Since 1990, Dr Hickson's research has focussed on why families choose to file suit, why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of claims and how to identify and intervene with high risk physicians.

Patients and families are a invaluable resource to help identify doctors with disruptive and unprofessional behaviour which can lead to lawsuits. Unsolicited patient complaints allow for early intervention to resolve issues. We must send clear messages to patients and families that we want to hear from them. The data from families should be reviewed, coded, aggregated and used to provide a stepwise intervention for 'special colleagues' . Merely informing these doctors they are outliers can lead to self-correction in the majority of cases.