Malpractice, Outcomes, and Appropriateness of Care

by Albert P. Williams


Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback7 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

This paper reports on the need for more research on outcomes and appropriateness of medical care to develop a more rational system for preventing, punishing, and compensating for medical malpractice. Malpractice claims are clearly linked to outcomes of care, and a large proportion of court decisions settling these claims confuse bad outcomes with inappropriate care because of the lack of definitive research on how specific medical interventions affect patient outcomes. The author suggests that the medical malpractice system might be improved by conducting more research on outcomes and appropriateness of care to inform medical decisionmaking and to set standards relevant only to a certain class of malpractice problems, ones in which it was not appropriate to take a specific action. Developing more explicit standards of care treats both doctor and patient more equitably by offering a statement about range of expected risks and benefits of the intervention under consideration as well as providing a structure to ease problems of malpractice.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

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.