Distribution of Medical Malpractice Claims

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine sought to better understand the distribution of medical malpractice claims, and postulated that if physicians who are prone to malpractice claims could be reliably identified earlier, the effort to improve the overall quality of care might be advanced.

Large amounts of data from 2005 through 2014 were analyzed covering claims paid against physicians in an effort to calculate risk, identify high-risk characteristics among physicians and quantify risk over time.

Results yielded from the study included the following:

  • 1% of the physicians studied accounted for 32% of paid claims
  • The fewer number of claims against a physician, the fewer there were likely to be in the future; the more claims against a physician, the higher the risk of additional claims.
  • Risk of reoccurrence of claims varied widely by physician specialty

The study concluded that within a recent 10-year span of time, a small number of physicians with specific characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large percentage of paid malpractice claims.

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