Physicians With Multiple Medical Malpractice Claims Go Solo
Physicians with multiple medical malpractice claims against them often try to save their reputations by starting fresh in a new practice. These doctors are more likely to stay in the same geographic area and either join a smaller practice or start a solo practice. In fact, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the odds of them moving into a solo practice are more than double. Stanford researchers found more than 90 percent of physicians who racked up five or more paid claims continued to practice medicine.
Safety Concerns in a Solo Practice
Quality problems with solo practitioners may be more difficult to detect and report, which raises safety concerns as solo practices tend to have less oversight than larger practices. The Doctor’s Advocate listed a number of liability risks in solo practice or small medical practices, including:
- Telephone communication: No established system for tracking patient calls and/or documenting them in the appropriate medical records. No protocol for unlicensed staff regarding how to answer patient questions.
- Informed consent: No written informed consent documents and/or no documented informed consent discussion.
- Consultation and test tracking: Some practices passively wait for consultation reports, test reports, and/or a return appointment by the patient before taking action. Many tests were found already inside of patient files without a physician ever having reviewed the results or notified the patient about the results.
- Documentation: While medical record documentation has become less of an issue with advances in technology, it is still prevalent in many cases, including issues such as illegibility, incorrect use of templates, and failure to verify fields that auto-populate.
- Medication management: Failure to maintain a complete medication list in the patient record, not reviewing/updating that list in all patient appointments, and/or not documenting patient allergies properly.
While not always as easy as we would like, it is worth your time to research and find out the claims history of any providers who will be new to you, especially those who have newly founded a solo practice. And it’s important to note that while no federal law requires doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance, fortunately some states, like Pennsylvania, do.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you think you are the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to find a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can better understand your particular case and its unique medical and legal issues. Contact Lopez McHugh today.