Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obstetric malpractice claims dip when hospitals stress patient safety

Date:
June 10, 2014
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A hospital saw a 50 percent drop in malpractice liability claims and payments when it made patient safety initiatives a priority by training doctors and nurses to improve teamwork and communication, hiring a patient safety nurse, and standardizing practices, according to a study. "We found a 50% reduction in liability claims, and also found that the payments made for these liability claims decreased 95%, from over $50 million to under $3 million," said the first author.

Fewer malpractice liability claims when patient safety initiatives implemented at CT hospital.
Credit: Image by Patrick Lynch, Yale University

A Connecticut hospital saw a 50% drop in malpractice liability claims and payments when it made patient safety initiatives a priority by training doctors and nurses to improve teamwork and communication, hiring a patient safety nurse, and standardizing practices, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The results, published in the June 9 online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, come at a time when mounting concerns about liability are thinning the ranks of obstetricians in the United States, according first author Christian Pettker, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine.

"Liability insurance rates are not controlled, malpractice awards continue to increase, and there is increasing awareness of litigiousness in clinical practice," said Pettker. "As a result, obstetricians are increasingly reducing or dropping out of practice, and future physicians are discouraged from entering the field."

In 2004, Pettker and his team partnered with their liability insurance carrier to conduct a comprehensive safety assessment. The team then made improvements to the healthcare system and culture by standardizing care, learning and practicing new teamwork protocols, and enhancing oversight of clinical work. The team then compared the five-year period before the safety program was implemented to the five-year period afterward.

"We found a 50% reduction in liability claims, and also found that the payments made for these liability claims decreased 95%, from over $50 million to under $3 million," said Pettker.

In two prior studies, Pettker and his team found that the same safety-improvement program reduced adverse outcomes and created an improved culture of safety on obstetrical units. "This new publication demonstrates yet another positive result of our program," he said. "We've found that standardizing care, improving teamwork and communication, and optimizing oversight and quality review reduces liability exposure."

Pettker said that while most of the measures in the hospital's program make sense to outside observers, some involve substantial and systematic changes that might be resisted by nurses and doctors who value individual knowledge, skills, and experience. "Our publication gives another piece of evidence to justify the investment and work required for a sophisticated patient safety program," he said.

"We don't think that this is a cure to the medical liability crisis, but this is certainly one approach that can both make things safe for the patient and have tremendous improvements and reduce a lot of the costs in healthcare that go to the defense of medicine and liability," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Karen N. Peart. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christian M. Pettker, Stephen F. Thung, Heather S. Lipkind, Jessica L. Illuzzi, Catalin S. Buhimschi, Cheryl A. Raab, Joshua A. Copel, Charles J. Lockwood, Edmund F. Funai. A comprehensive obstetric patient safety program reduces liability claims and payments. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.04.038

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Obstetric malpractice claims dip when hospitals stress patient safety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610112808.htm>.
Yale University. (2014, June 10). Obstetric malpractice claims dip when hospitals stress patient safety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610112808.htm
Yale University. "Obstetric malpractice claims dip when hospitals stress patient safety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610112808.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins