Failed Communication Leads to Lawsuits
Failed Communication of Clinical Data Leads to Lawsuits
In a recent article. Failure to Notify Reportable Test Results: Significance in Medical Malpractice, the American College of Radiology reports on data supporting the theory that there is an increasing risk for malpractice litigation resulting from diagnostic test result notification. The authors surveyed malpractice claims data from both the National Practitioner Data Bank and CRICO (a malpractice insurance carrier) and came up with the following significant conclusions:
NPDB Data (based on claims reported nationally to government database)
- Payments made in cases in which the error was a communication breakdown increased from .9% of all awards in 1991 to 2.3% in 2009.
- Total payments for communication breakdown claims increased from $21.7M in 1991 to $91.0M in 2010
- Payments made in cases in which the error was a communication breakdown increased from 4% of all cases between 2004 and 2008 and 7% of total costs.
- Radiologists were named as primary defendants in 7.8% of the cases and Medicine (incl. subspecialties) was primary defendant in 40.1% of cases.
- The most common factor was (1) failure to notify the patient of result, (2) notifying the patient of an incorrect result, and (3) failing to notify the referring clinician.
- In cases where there was also a secondary responsible provider, Radiology had the highest percentage (24%), followed by Nursing, Medicine, ED, Pathology and Surgery.