Med Mal Errors in the Outpatient Setting

Side Note: Where do you think most med mal errors occur that lead to med mal claims? In a hospital or in a physician’s office? Most people would guess in the hospital, but a new study from Weill Cornell Medical College shows that may not be the case.

Reviewing data from 2005-2009, from the National Practitioner Data Bank, the researchers reviewed the number of med mal claims that were filed for physicians in hospitals vs. offices. It showed that claims were almost equally filed for physicians in both settings. It seems that adverse outcomes can occur anywhere. It also seems likely that more errors may be occurring in physician offices because more and more minimally invasive procedures are being performed there. The once lower-tech, lower-risk office setting is going higher-tech and higher-risk.

Thus, because a physician primarily sees patients in an office setting, it doesn’t mean he or she should feel any more safe from physician liability claims. While there still may be less frequent procedural errors, it still stands that most errors in diagnosis occur in the office setting. And, a med mal lawsuit is a med mal lawsuit. No one wants to be sued for med mal, no matter what the reason.

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JAMA: Patient Safety Risks Also Exist in Physicians’ Offices
By Jaimie Oh
Posted: June 15, 2011

Surgery SettingResearchers at Weill Cornell Medical College found a high number of adverse events, including major injury and even death, occur in private physician offices and outpatient clinics, according to a New York-Presbyterian Hospital news release.

The study uses malpractice claims data to assess the prevalence of adverse events in the outpatient setting. Using data from the National Practitioner Data Bank from 2005-2009, the researchers compared malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in hospitals versus doctors’ offices.

See original article.

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