2009 Open Disclosure Project

Partners:  Cross-Industry committee established     Literature survey and report by Professor Alfred Allan (Professor of Psychology at the School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University).   Completed:  2009   Duration:  2 years   Cost: VLF Fund seeding $10,000

The aim of the study was to evaluate a completely new (for Rural WA) approach to managing adverse events

The study looked at changing from the old legalistic adversarial approach to adverse events, to a new system of open disclosure (OD).  This involves an open and frank discussion between health professionals and patients about what went wrong, why it happened and what should be done to prevent it from happening again.

Following two years of research a formal report was submitted to the Dept Health WA.


 Allan, A. (2008). Implementation of the National Open Disclosure Standard in Western Australia: A literature review of the legal situation. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.ecu.edu.au/staff/documents/allanA/86_Allan_OD_Literature_Review.pdf.

Allan, A., & Munro, B. (2008). Open Disclosure: A Review of the Literature. Retrieved fromhttp://www.psychology.ecu.edu.au/staff/documents/allanA/87_Allan_OD_Legal_Review.pdf

Allan, A., & McKillop, D. (2010). The health implications of apologising after an adverse incident. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 22 126-131

Open Disclosure is now integrated into the Health Department of Western Australia’s “Strategic plan for safety and quality in health care 2008-2013” and in May 2009 published “WA Open disclosure policy:  Communication and disclosure requirements for health professionals working in Western Australia.”

We congratulate all involved in a successful outcome benefiting patients, professionals and future generations who will enjoy a responsive health system actively geared to continuous improvement.