Medical Malpractice: Hospital vs. Outpatient Settings

Side Note: Wouldn’t you think that a physician who practices in a hospital would be more likely to a face medical liability that leads to a medical malpractice lawsuit than a physician who practices in an outpatient setting? Doesn’t it seem “safer” for a physician to practice in an office setting? Strangely enough, it’s not.

According to a recent study (see below), it seems that practicing in the outpatient setting is just as risky for medical malpractice lawsuits as the inpatient setting. But, why?

Well, the most obvious reason the study mentions is that the outpatient setting is getting more and more high tech and, as a result, it is offering more and more procedures that were once reserved for the inpatient setting. Thus, the outpatient setting is seeing more surgical errors. The article also mentions that most errors in diagnosis are made in the outpatient/office setting, and this is a large percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits.

In addition, let’s not forget how important patient satisfaction is to the doctor-patient relationship and how this relationship is primarily forged in the doctor’s office, in the outpatient setting. Though it is not mentioned in the article below, research has shown that lack of patient satisfaction with this relationship can also lead to more outpatient physician liability lawsuits. Cunningham Group understands both the importance of the physician-patient relationship and patient satisfaction. That is why, in addition to offering affordable physician liability insurance for our clients, we also offer them tools to help make their practice more efficient, including a free patient satisfaction survey.

If you are a physician and would like to lower your med mal insurance rates, Cunningham Group may be able to help you. Contact us today by completing our free, no-obligation quote request.

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.

Read the Full Article

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