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The 2008 Symposium Report is Now Available

Guiding Principles for Creation of Dispute Resolution Systems in Health Care

Why is our American health care system so susceptible to conflict at all levels and what are the key components of a system to resolve those conflicts? 

The American health care system-with our increasingly diverse and aging population, traditional and non-traditional health care providers, Internet self-diagnosis, the ever-expanding role of third party payors, suppliers promoting cutting-edge technologies and marketing directly to patients, policy makers with divided ideologies, and regulators caught in the middle-is an overwhelmingly complex set of challenges.

How can professionals from the dispute resolution and health care fields partner to address these conflicts in health care?

To begin to answer that question, Hamline University School of Law's Dispute Resolution and Health Law Institutes sponsored a symposium in November of 2007.  The symposium brought together health care providers, payors, regulators, recognized patient representatives, attorneys, and experienced conflict resolution professionals for an Intentional Conversation about Conflict Resolution in Health Care.  Understanding the conversation that occurred during the symposium is instrumental to understanding the principles that evolved after several months of reflection and fine-tuning. Therefore, the 2008 report first summarizes the conversations, specifically addressing the points of consensus and sources of tension in each session.

The culmination of the conversations, Guiding Principles for Creation of Dispute Resolution Systems in Health Care, promote patient-centered resolution systems.  While systems will necessarily vary in different health care settings, the following values should guide creation of all.   

A dispute resolution system in health care must be one that:

  • Centers on the Patient
  • Recognizes and Addresses Disputes Within the Health Care Team
  • Places Individual Conflicts in the Broader Health Care Picture
  • Promotes Communication Skills and Professionalism
  • Exudes Transparency
  • Encourages Timely Truth Telling and Acceptance of Responsibility
  • Focuses on "How did this happen?" Rather Than "who did it?"
  • Recognizes the Centrality of Emotion

Click here to download the Symposium Report (pdf)