WSHA Endorses Washington State Communication and Resolution programs

July 19, 2017

Communication and Resolution Programs (CRPs) are a principled, comprehensive and systematic approach for responding to patients who have been harmed during health care. Despite the best training and intentions of healthcare professionals, about one in 10 patients is harmed by the care they receive. When something goes wrong during health care, the best response is one that is rapid and compassionate, and promotes healing for all involved.

CRPs guide this response, leading to optimal resolution and improved patient safety. At the heart of this process is empathetic communication, accountability and application of learning to prevent similar incidents from recurring. The Washington Patient Safety Coalition — a program of the Foundation for Health Care Quality — is the home for Washington State CRPs and the CRP Certification Program. WSHA has endorsed these programs to promote patient safety throughout Washington State.

Delivering the highest quality health care possible is the number-one priority for health care providers and institutions. Yet, when adverse events occur, it is critical that health care organizations have an effective mechanism in place to meet the needs of the patient, family and care teams impacted by the event, correct the gap in care, and ensure system-wide learning to prevent recurrences. CRPs are a rapidly emerging innovation that turns adverse events into opportunities for improvement. CRPs help the patient understand what happened, enhance patient safety, preserve the patient-clinician relationship and disseminate lessons learned.

The benefits of CRPs include:

  • Providing patients and their families what they need to heal and move forward
  • Honoring the experience of healthcare providers
  • Supporting a culture of accountability and continued learning at healthcare institutions
  • Faster, more positive resolutions

One key development related to CRPs in Washington State has been the CRP Certification Program. This program is a voluntary activity in which providers, health care organizations and liability insurers can apply to a neutral expert review panel for a determination of whether an adverse event was handled according to the key principles of a CRP. The State of Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) has publicly affirmed its support of CRP certification.

If a physician can demonstrate to MQAC that he/she properly participated in a CRP after an adverse event, MQAC will consider CRP certification as a significant mitigating factor when considering the need to investigate or take disciplinary action against the physician. The CRP Certification Program is moving toward becoming interprofessional by collaborating with other health care commissions (i.e. the Pharmacy and Nursing Commissions) in the same way as MQAC.

The benefits of CRP certification include:

  • Serving as a seal of approval, demonstrating to regulators that the provider and/or institution met the patient’s needs and took steps to prevent recurrence;
  • Potential reduction in disciplinary action if an event is certified;
  • Statewide learning through distribution of compiled and de-identified “lessons learned;” and
  • Expert feedback as to how to improve the management of and prevention of adverse events.

If you are interested in learning more about these programs and how your organization can implement an effective CRP, you can attend the Northwest CRP Leader Retreat: Achieving Benefits, Avoiding Pitfalls. This retreat will take place September 27-28, 2017 at the Marriott Hotel, SeaTac International Airport. This retreat is hosted by the Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement and the Foundation for Health Care Quality.

Learn more about the retreat here:

Register here:


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