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VOLUME 51 | NUMBER 6 | DECEMBER 2016


Challenges of Implementing a Communication-and-Resolution Program Where Multiple Organizations Must Cooperate

Objective: To implement a communication-and-resolution program (CRP) in a setting in which liability insurers and health care facilities must collaborate to resolve incidents involving a facility and separately insured clinicians.

Study Setting: Six hospitals and clinics and a liability insurer in Washington State.

Study Design: Sites designed and implemented CRPs and contributed information about cases and operational challenges over 20 months. Data were qualitatively analyzed.

Data Collection Methods: Data from interviews with personnel responsible for CRP implementation were triangulated with data on program cases collected by sites and notes recorded during meetings with sites and among project team members.

Principal Findings: Sites experienced small victories in resolving particular cases and streamlining some working relationships, but they were unable to successfully implement a collaborative CRP. Barriers included the insurer's distance from the point of care, passive rather than active support from top leaders, coordinating across departments and organizations, workload, nonparticipation by some physicians, and overcoming distrust.

Conclusions: Operating CRPs where multiple organizations must collaborate can be highly challenging. Success likely requires several preconditions, including preexisting trust among organizations, active leadership engagement, physicians' commitment to participate, mechanisms for quickly transmitting information to insurers, tolerance for missteps, and clear protocols for joint investigations and resolutions.

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