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Of medical malpractice and safety -- and what the connection portends

April 15, 2010 | 10:07 am

Surely, improved hospital safety would lead to fewer malpractice claims, yes? Perhaps, perhaps not. We've had little evidence either way. Enter the Rand Corp.

Researchers there have offered up their analysis of the connection, based on California's experiences. They say that a county with a decrease of 10 adverse events would see 3.7 fewer malpractice claims. Similary, an increase of 10 events would suggest 3.7 more malpractice claims.

From the Rand report's conclusion:

Arguments about the merits of statutory tort intervention will surely continue in the future,
but to the extent that improved safety performance can be shown to have a demonstrable
impact on malpractice claims, that offers another focal point for policymakers in seeking to
address the malpractice crisis. Based on the results of the current study, we would suggest that that focal point may be more immediately relevant than has previously been recognized.

Here's the full report: Is Better Patient Safety Associated with Less Malpractice Activity? Evidence from California. For a shorter version, go to the summary.

-- Tami Dennis

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Comments (1)

Who doesn't want more safety? The true root cause of all claims is related to issues with communication, staffing and fatigue. It is not a matter of training or technique errors. Pay the money for staff and spread the work evenly- it will be cheaper and curtail injuries.

Only 4% of meritorious claims ever turn into a suit. There is plenty of room for improvement. That 4% has kept my PL claim career secure for the past 25 yrs. There is a lot of money involved, so meaningful change, just as in Health care, is a pipe dream. I have the solutions, but it may include a heavy dose of castor and cod liver oil. Attorneys for both sides are for reform as long as it does not affect their side of the Bar. A good idea with zero chance .
regards J. O'Hare VP med mal claims Physicians Ins Co Fl


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