Saturday, September 22, 2012

New system for reporting medical malpractice?

I have always liked the expression that the best way to reduce the amount of medical malpractice litigation is to reduce the incidence of medical malpractice.  This is not necessarily easy to do for many reasons, but the New York Times is reporting on a new government initiative that may help. According to the article, the Obama administration is working on instituting a system for consumers to report medical mistakes and unsafe practices by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others who provide medical services.  At least some hospitals have declared they are receptive to the idea, despite concerns about malpractice liability and possible financial penalties for poor performance.  Go here to read the full article.

1 comment:

Max Kennerly said...

This could help uncover gaps left by the National Practitioner Data Bank, which only counts disciplinary actions and liability payments. We reject the majority of cases that come into us — including ones we believe involve negligence — because the damages aren't large enough to justify the risk and expense of the case. Some degree of reporting would help that.

This would also fill the gap created by state boards of medicine which, almost as a rule, refuse to ever do anything about malpractice. Truth is, iatrogenic injuries could be dramatically reduced if (1) the 1-2% of truly horrible doctors were forced out of the practice and (2) hospitals recognized systematic care problems.