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Medical malpractice claims may never actually be a physician’s best friend. However, they can be an invaluable training tool for the purpose of avoiding future lawsuits.
Laura Landro had a great article in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week discussing the ways in which physicians and healthcare providers can learn from medical malpractice claims. “By analyzing the breakdowns in care that led to missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses, insurers and health-care providers are developing programs to avert mistakes.
There is no such thing as a positive case of medical malpractice, physician error or hospital negligence. Still, every one of these cases can be viewed as a teachable moment – one that should have never happened, but at the least should be learned from.
There are major issues facing the healthcare industry. Landro cites an estimate by patient-safety researcher Peter Pronovost, who believes that between 40,000 and 80,000 hospital patients die every year as a result of medical error.
These tragedies may be a result of specific missteps or system-wide breakdowns in service and communication. Both contribute to medical malpractice claims and a great deal are preventable.
The system-wide failures are ones that industry researchers believe can be alleviated by a learning approach to cases of medical malpractice. On the hospital and physician’s side, it makes good business sense. Fixing the errors that can be addressed broadly will likely save money in operating costs and medical malpractice payouts. Most importantly, it will provide a safer patient experience.
Instances of medical malpractice should never be viewed as positive events. Still, when the opportunity to learn from one’s mistakes or the mistakes of others is there, it makes sense to take it.