Health professionals worry that information about adverse events conveyed to patients in open disclosure (OD) may be used against them in medicolegal proceedings.
Whether and how strongly state and federal laws in Australia protect against such uses is unclear.
Our analysis concludes that existing laws do not prohibit the sharing of most types of information on adverse events with patients. However, none of these laws was enacted with OD in mind and, in general, the protections they provide are quite weak.
If policymakers want OD to become a routine part of medical practice, law reform may be needed in the form of stronger protections directed specifically at the contents of OD communications.
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