Tuesday, January 16, 2007
A new SSRN paper attempts to predict the likely consequences of increased disclosure of medical errors, providing an interesting counterpoint to the frequent arguments that telling patients (and apologizing) about mistakes will reduce malpractice claims. (See SorryWorks.net for one organization based in part on this idea.)
The key part of the abstract, based on modeling "litigation consequences of disclosure by combining existing data on the epidemiology of medical injuries and malpractice claims with expert opinion about likely patient reactions to disclosure," is:
We found that under nearly any set of assumptions, the chances that disclosure would decrease either the frequency or cost of malpractice litigation were remote. An increase in the number and costs of claims was highly likely. The key driver of the model's findings is the well-established fact that only a tiny proportion of seriously injured patients sue, creating a huge reservoir of potential claims.