Patient safety as a key element of physician liability reform


When I visited doctors and hospitals across the country, I received information directly from people who were facing the problem of increasing the cost of insurance. In the case of some specialties, large insurance premiums require doctors, for example, to refuse to perform certain high-risk procedures and thus prevent the patient from using the full range of medical services. I also spoke with families who encountered medical errors.

Therefore, it has become clear to us that all stakeholders – doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and patients – need to work together to find an appropriate and correct solution to this complex problem. Rather than focusing on a few areas where there are large discrepancies (for example, the possibility of limiting financial compensation to patients), a more fundamental issue should be discussed – the need to improve patient safety.

A well-known historical report from the 1999 Institute of Medicine found 98,000 people in the United States. annual deaths are the result of medical malpractice.1 The report also points out that more than 90% of these deaths are caused by faulty systems and procedures, rather than medical malpractice. Therefore, we need to change our attitude and not put the responsibility of individual doctors or medical organizations, but focus on reforming the system to improve the quality of medical practice, taking into account patient safety2.

To improve both patient safety and the professional responsibility of physicians, the system must meet four objectives: reduce the number of preventable injuries associated with medical malpractice in patients, encourage open communication between physicians and patients, and ensure that patients receive a fair compensation. in case of proven guilt of the doctor and the decrease of the insurance premium for the insurance of professional liability of doctors. Solving one of these problems will not solve the problem. Limiting compensation payments due to medical negligence may reduce the rate of increase in premiums for insurers, but this will not prevent physicians from practicing high-risk complications from physicians who are dangerous to patients and will not guarantee compensation. fair to patients.3

Research shows that for a traumatized patient, the most important issue in deciding to take a case to court is not negligence per se, but inefficient patient-physician communication. Lack of sympathy from doctors or refusal to provide the necessary information.4 Prevention of further cases of medical negligence requires the disclosure of pre-existing violations and their analysis, which will undoubtedly cause tensions in the medical community.