Is Better Patient Safety Associated with Less Malpractice Activity?

Evidence from California

by Michael D. Greenberg, Amelia M. Haviland, J. Scott Ashwood, Regan Main

View related products

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Abstract

In principle, efforts to improve patient safety, if they are successful, should lead to reductions in claims of medical malpractice. In practice, however, this has not yet been systematically demonstrated to be so. The authors of this report examined the relationship between safety outcomes in hospitals and malpractice claiming against providers, using administrative data and measures for California from 2001 to 2005. They found that decreases in the county-level frequency of adverse safety outcomes were positively and significantly associated with decreases in the volume of malpractice claims, as captured by records from four of the largest malpractice insurers in the state. This result suggests that policy options that improve patient safety may offer a new avenue for reducing malpractice pressure on physicians, at the same time that they improve clinical outcomes.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Study Design and Methods

  • Chapter Three

    Results

  • Chapter Four

    Discussion and Conclusions

The research described in this report was conducted under the auspices of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) and funded by pooled contributions from the ICJ and from several insurance companies, individuals, and nonprofit groups with interests in patient safety and medical malpractice policy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.