Open disclosure

Lý lịch

From time to time, vaccine administration errors can and do occur. Effective and prompt management of these clinical scenarios is vital for the prevention of any future administration errors. The way that errors are communicated to those impacted is also important for maintaining confidence in the vaccination process and to encourage uptake of future vaccines.  

What is open disclosure?

Open disclosure describes having an open and honest conversation with a person (and their parent/guardian/support person) about an immunisation incident/error that has affected them.  

These conversations are not designed in any way to point blame. Instead, they provide the affected person with an understanding of how the incident occurred, what happens next, and an opportunity to receive an apology with a respectful acknowledgement that something has gone wrong. The conversation is a time to allow the affected person to share their experience and understand the measures that will be implemented by the clinic/provider to ensure these types of incidents do not occur again.  

The open disclosure framework

To support these conversations, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) have developed a framework for clinicians to follow. 

Table: Using the open disclosure framework for communicating vaccine administration errors

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Source: Compromised Vaccine Guidelines for Jurisdictional Immunisation Coordinators pp34-37 

The below role play provides an example of an open disclosure conversation using the framework following a vaccine administration error:

For more information on vaccine error management and prevention refer to the Victorian Department of Health: Vaccine error management.

Open disclosure is an accreditation requirement of all health services under the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards. The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision.  

Open disclosure can be challenging and complex for clinicians and families alike. However, it can produce benefits, such as improved transparency and communication between clinicians and patients; and opportunities for health services to improve care delivery systems and processes. 

Các tác giả: Katie Butler (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Georgina Lewis (Clinical Manager, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Ngày: February 2024

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You should not consider the information on this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.