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Open disclosure

Health service organisations are required to implement open disclosure as part of the Clinical Governance Standard in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

Open disclosure is the open discussion of adverse events that result in harm to a patient while receiving health care with the patient, their family and carers.

The elements of open disclosure are:

  • an apology or expression of regret, which should include the words ‘I am sorry’ or ‘we are sorry’
  • a factual explanation of what happened 
  • an opportunity for the patient, their family and carers to relate their experience
  • a discussion of the potential consequences of the adverse event
  • an explanation of the steps being taken to manage the adverse event and prevent recurrence.
  • Consumer resources on open disclosure

    Our two fact sheets increase understanding of the open disclosure process, and support communication between clinicians and consumers. 

    • Open disclosure - What to expect if you experience harm during health care?
    • Preparing and participating in open disclosure discussions
  • Open Disclosure Program

    The essential elements of open disclosure are outlined in the national Australian Open Disclosure Framework.

    The Commission’s Open Disclosure Program:

    • Maintains the Australian Open Disclosure Framework
    • Participates in, and coordinates national open disclosure projects and research.
  • Frequently asked questions

    Open disclosure involves the open discussion of incidents that result in harm to a patient while receiving health care. These FAQs answer some common questions about this process.

Find more in our resource library
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