How To Reduce Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice became a hot button issue in the recent healthcare debate. Many politicians, healthcare workers, and large insurers argued that medical malpractice cases are a large contributor to the rising cost of healthcare in the United States. Even though this line of argument has been consistently proven to be false, it was constantly brought up buy opponents of healthcare reform.
There is a better way to reduce the number of medical malpractice cases without sacrificing innocent victims who have been maimed due to preventable medical errors.
A California study has revealed a decrease in preventable patient injuries in California hospitals from 2001 to 2005 that coincided with a drop in malpractice suits against doctors.
“These findings suggest that putting a greater focus on improving safety performance in health care settings could benefit medical providers as well as patients,” stated lead author Michael Greenberg, a behavioral scientist at the Rand Corporation. The study was released April 15 on the group’s Web site.
The researchers analyzed 2001-05 data and found that there were about 365,000 adverse events among patients, such as post-surgical problems and hospital-acquired infections, and about 27,000 malpractice suits in California during that time.
The study found a significant association between the annual number of safety lapses that put patients at risk in each county and the number of malpractice claims. A model created by the researchers showed that a county with 10 fewer adverse events in a year would have 3.7 fewer malpractice claims during that year.
The study is the first to show a connection between improved performance on 20 well-established indicators of patient safety and fewer malpractice claims, according to the researchers.
This simple solution to reducing medical malpractice claims will benefit everyone.

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