Medical Malpractice Risk Management

 

 

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A study conducted by Stephen W. Heath, MD, MPH found that there is a correlation between our increasing litigious society and the reason litigants file malpractice claims.  Continuous consumer advertisements targeting medical providers has become commonplace. As such, a 2010 report by the American Medical Association found that 60 percent of doctors over the age of 55 have been sued at least once.  Moreover, medical malpractice jury awards are 17 time higher than general tort awards according to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. With the high probability of experiencing a medical malpractice claim, medical providers should address the risk of financial loss systematically.  By focusing on high risk areas such as informed consent, informed refusal and patient documentation, a provider can reduce the risk of claims filed against his or her medical practice.  It is equally important to implement new policies, procedures and forms that address high risk areas.  Finally, research studies show that patients rarely bring tort actions against providers they like.  For this reason, conducting patient satisfaction surveys should play a role in a provider’s risk management strategy.

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