ACOG Survey: Most Ob/Gyns Report Significant Practice Changes to Reduce Malpractice Risk

October 5, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Despite increasing focus on reducing the burden posed by malpractice litigation, most U.S. obstetrician/gynecologists report using defensive tactics such as seeing fewer high-risk patients and performing fewer surgeries, according to the results of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) annual survey on professional liability covering 2009 through 2011. The final data represents 9,006 practicing obstetrician/gynecologists, of whom, more than half (51%) reported making one or more changes to their practice because of the affordability or availability of professional liability insurance and 58% made one or more changes because of the risk or fear of professional liability claims or litigation. Respondents who made changes to obstetric practices reported increasing the number of cesarean deliveries (15.1%), ceasing to perform or offer vaginal birth after cesarean (13.5%), reducing the number of high-risk obstetric patients they saw (18.1%), decreasing the number of total deliveries (8.4%), or ceasing to practice obstetrics altogether (5%). Changes that were made to gynecological practices included decreasing gynecologic surgical procedures (12.4%), ceasing to perform major gynecologic surgery (5.2%), and ceasing to perform all surgery (1.4%).

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