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New Medical Malpractice Concerns and How to Avoid Them

May 5, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), malpractice ranks number three among the leading causes of death in the United States, coming in behind cancer and heart disease. There is an average of one payout every 43 minutes.

Diederich Healthcare’s "2015 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis" reveals that the total malpractice payout was $3,891,743,050 in 2014, which is a 4.4% increase from 2013. According to the American Medical Association, over 61% of medical practitioners over the age of 55 have been sued at least once in their careers.

Medical malpractice is a major problem in the United States and now, there are new concerns for physicians that could lead to malpractice lawsuits. The fabulous news is that there are thing that they can do to avoid these issues. Here is a look at some of the new malpractice concerns today.

Clinical Practice Guidelines are not Reliable

More than ever, hospitals, patients, payers and even clinical decision-support systems in EHRs (electronic health records) lay down evidence-based guidelines that doctors are expected to follow. But according to medical malpractice attorneys, these guidelines do not provide strong defense against lawsuits. Evidence shows that these guidelines are more often used against physicians than in their favor.

What can be done about this risk? Doctors need to be aware that guidelines are not an ironclad protection against malpractice charges. Serious diseases and illnesses can be missed as a result of these guidelines so experts advise doctors to recommend tests to patients if they think that they are required. This can prevent them from being sued for negligence.

Increased use of Team Care may Raise Liability Risks

Hospital systems, patient-centered medical homes and ACOs (Accountable care organizations) are using more teams of medical professionals to provide care to patients. However, this increases the risk of liability issues. There can be errors in the information passed to one professional to another and other problems.

To prevent the risk of lawsuits, doctors and their teams need to make sure that there is proper communication between each member of the team at all times. Each member of the team should have a clear role, effective communication, mutual trust and shared goals.

ACOs May Increase Exposure

In ACOs, doctors are required to draw up more comprehensive individualized care plans for patients than what is usually committed to the patient record. They also need to adhere to higher standards for patient communication. They need to communicate clinical knowledge and in a way that takes the patient’s unique needs, priorities, and preferences into account.

Unlike HMOs, ACOs do not have legal protections against lawsuits. They cannot allege that they skimped on medical care to save costs. HMOs are not involved in the provision of care, but ACOs are. Although these concerns have not materialized yet, but ACOs can prevent the risk of lawsuits by adhering to evidence-based guidelines that are designed to improve the quality of care given to patients.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a hospital or doctor, you should seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falloff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280.

The first meeting is free. We have won millions of dollars for past clients, you too can be on this golden list.