More than half of the physicians who responded to a recent survey by Medscape had been sued, and among those, 70 percent say it “came as a total surprise,” according to Fierce Practice Management. In other words, says Fierce, “Physicians don’t appear to think a lawsuit will happen to them – until it does.”
But the Medscape research is not intended to alarm physicians. Instead, the data offers some perspective related to medical liability and malpractice litigation. Fierce reports, “The majority of suits never make it to trial, and of those reported in the survey, only 16 percent even reached a verdict. A mere 3 percent reached a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.”
Among the “take-home lessons” from the Medscape survey are the following:
- Those who’d been sued stressed the importance of preparation for the deposition and trial, and over a third spent more than 40 hours preparing. MLMIC agrees that this is time well spent: quality legal counsel – which includes substantial preparation – makes a difference in the claims process.
- Among the things they might change, those who’d been sued named stronger documentation and better patient communication. Interestingly, good communication and thorough documentation are factors MLMIC’s physician policyholders attribute to their ability to remain claims free, as reported via “MLMIC’s Claims Free Discount Survey.” (You can review MLMIC survey results in the Fall 2015 Dateline starting on page 6).