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Statistics Highlight Need for Focus on Reducing Malpractice Risks

Statistics Highlight Need for Focus on Reducing Medical Malpractice RisksStatistics Highlight Need for Focus on Reducing Malpractice Risks

As reported in an August 2014 article on the medical news website Newsmax Health, renowned pharmacy professor and medical author Joe Graedon, who has personal experience with a medical error resulting in the death of a loved one, says that mistakes throughout the medical community adds up to approximately 500,000 Americans annually. A huge number, Graedon attributes the majority of these mistakes to misdiagnosis.

Your clients in the medical field have a true challenge, meeting the needs of the influx of patients they are seeing from the newly implemented ACA while remaining diligent in all aspects of their work. Unfortunately in today’s litigious society, many physicians find themselves facing claims when no wrongdoing has occurred. This is why it’s important to have the right type of Malpractice Insurance policy, referred to also as Professional Liability or Errors & Omissions, in place to protect themselves financially. Aside from protecting themselves in the aftermath of a claim, however, what else can your medical clients do to potentially reduce their medical malpractice risks?

David Newman-Toker, M.D., a neurologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has studied the problem of medical mistakes and reportedly agrees with Graedon that diagnostic errors are rampant. According to Graedon, causes for diagnostic errors include doctors being overlyconfident, reluctance by doctors to ask for help in difficult cases, or too large of a patient load to give the appropriate attention to all of them, a problem we explored in a previous blog post.

While Graedon’s reports highlighted what individuals could do as a patient to avoid these types of issues to begin with, his advice may hold relevant to your physician clients as well. He highlights 8 questions that doctors could consider asking themselves when making a diagnosis.

  1. How confident are you in this diagnosis?
  2. What further tests may be helpful to improve your confidence?
  3. Are there any findings or symptoms that don’t fit your diagnosis?
  4. What else could the patient’s symptoms be caused by?
  5. Can you facilitate a second opinion by providing the patient with their medical records?
  6. When should the patient expect to see test results?
  7. What resources could you recommend for the patient to learn more about their diagnosis?
  8. May the patient contact you if their symptoms change or if they have an important question?

Addressing these issues for the patient could certainly help ease their minds, as well as potentially avoid the risk of a misdiagnosis, and thus a medical malpractice claim. At PLRisk Advisors, we provide Professional Liability, or Errors & Omissions, insurance products for a number of professions. We understand that running a professional services business exposes your clients to extraordinary liability risks, especially if they are in the medical field. To learn more about how we can assist your clients with their professional liability needs, please contact us at (855) 403-5982.

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