Here in Tampa Bay and around the world, collaborative practice is most frequently associated with divorce and other family law matters, as a non-adversarial method to resolve disputes. And yet, the collaborative process has been and is being used in many different legal matters, including in the area of medical malpractice.
Many times patients and their families simply want to know what happened when there has been an injury or fatality at a medical facility, and yet doctors feel hamstrung as they are afraid that any discussion will be utilized against them as an expression of culpability. The collaborative process provides a safe space for direct and confidential dialogue, and it also allows hospitals to be more open in examining incidents and figuring out how to avoid error in the future.
Below is a video from a pilot program, the Integrated Accountability and Collaborative Transparency (IACT) Program from North Carolina:
The mission statement of the IACT Program is “[t]o provide a safe and supportive resolution process that values transparency and early disclosure of medical errors for patients, doctors, and healthcare organizations so that physical, emotional, and financial stress for all parties will be minimized.”
The goals of the IACT Program are
To provide an alternative to our current tort litigation system which will meet the needs of:
- patients for full disclosure, understanding, and in appropriate cases, an apology and compensation;
- physicians to proactively address issues and communicate with their patients in a safe and effective way so that both the physician and patient can gain closure;
- healthcare organizations to learn from errors and near misses to improve systems and processes in healthcare delivery; and
- society to simultaneously increase patient safety and reduce costs.
As collaborative practice grows in the family law arena, I predict that it will also gain traction in all sorts of civil law areas, including medical malpractice, business dissolutions, contract disputes, and elder law.
If you have questions about the use of the collaborative process for the resolution of divorce and other family law matters in Florida, schedule a consultation with Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover now practices exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, and unbundled legal services. Adam is president of Next Generation Divorce, Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group, and he is a member of the Research Committee of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.