Skip to main content

CANDOR: Communication and Optimal Resolution After Unexpected Harm in Healthcare Settings

Bruce L. Lambert, PhD

Department of Communication Studies

Director, Center for Communication and Health
Director of Graduate Studies
Master of Science in Health Communication Program

School of Communication
Northwestern University

The traditional approach to medical liability was to “deny and defend.” This led to high liability costs, prolonged litigation, and very low levels of satisfaction for clinicians and patients. A new approach, known as CANDOR (Communication AND Optimal Resolution), seeks to replace deny and defend with a principled, systematic, and comprehensive approach to responding to unexpected patient harm in healthcare. CANDOR involves rapid and ongoing empathic communication with patients and families, human factors-based investigation of harm events, provision of emotional first-aid for affected caregivers, non-litigated resolution of claims, and ongoing learning and performance improvement. The CANDOR model has been implemented in more than 200 hospitals nationwide, with positive effects on a variety of medical liability outcomes. A dissemination toolkit was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and is freely available. This presentation will summarize the CANDOR approach, discuss current implementation status, review empirical results, and review pedagogical techniques that are being used to teach CANDOR communication skills.

Presentation date: April 11, 2019.