Common Malpractice Claims, Strategies for Reducing Follow-Up-Related Claims

July 26, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Most malpractice claims against primary care physicians stem from drug errors and missed diagnoses, particularly of cancer, heart attack, and meningitis, finds a review of malpractice claims published July 18, 2013, in BMJ Open. Of the 34 studies examined, including 15 based in the United States, the most common issues resulting in claims were failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosis, followed by medication errors. The authors suggest that organizations focus on these high-risk areas to reduce liability risks. In related news, malpractice claims experts say that failing to contact patients after no-show appointments and to follow up with patients are also common areas of liability for medical offices, but office staff can be trained to reduce the risk of claims alleging inadequate follow up with patients, according to a July 15, 2013, American Medical News article. One expert recommends that healthcare organizations implement a written policy for how staff must handle no-shows and a patient appointment reminder system, which may involve assigning a staff member to contact missing patients and inform physicians about no-shows.

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