In 2010, the California Medical Association (CMA) adopted policy (HOD E-2-10) supporting a Fair and Just Culture – defined as a non-punitive, voluntary system of managing medical errors and adverse events that shifts focus away from individual punishment and emphasizes making systems better.
The principles of a Fair and Just Culture are based, in part, on research by human behavior and management experts such as James Reason, Ph.D., and David Marx, J.D. Their work has shown that how an organization responds to errors can make a critical difference in preventing future errors from occurring. The most effective way of preventing errors, they find, is to accept that humans will act in unpredictable ways that may lead to mistakes. By understanding how each error occurred, the system can make changes to prevent future errors or mitigate their effects.
CMA ON-CALL document #1535, Medical Error and Adverse Events: Transformation Through A Fair and Just Culture, presents an overview of the idea. The document describes the potential benefits of a Fair and Just Culture, as well as possible legal and liability considerations.
This document, as well as the rest of CMA's health law library, is available free to members in CMA's online resource library. Nonmembers can purchase CMA ON-CALL documents for $2 per page.
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