What is medical malpractice insurance, and where do claims come from? Simply stated, malpractice is when a patient suffers some type of damage as a result of receiving treatment. Sometimes this means physical injury or even death, and other times it could mean financial losses due to continued time off of work or from misdiagnosis.
Even when a doctor or nurse does everything that should be done for a patient, sometimes the outcome is still not what was intended or desired. Every human body is different, reacting in unique ways to procedures, medications, and tests. Despite the experience and the best intentions, doctors are still only “practicing” medicine. Medical malpractice insurance is integral to the financial well-being of every physician and practice.
Would Evidence-Based Guidelines Be a Viable Solution?
Over the years, many suggestions have been brought to the table to attempt to decrease the frequency of medical malpractice insurance claims. For instance, if surgeons were required to complete a checklist prior to operating, would mistakes be prevented? Unfortunately, because of the variance of how each patient will react differently and have a slightly different biological makeup, each situation must be viewed as a unique case. A checklist will not be able to sufficiently cover every single detail of each case.
Evidence-based medicine is the rationale that following a specific “if this, then that” equation will lead to a more accurate diagnosis, fewer tests, and lower costs to patients’ insurers. The same caveats apply, however, in that a flow chart or strict procedural methodology does not allow a physician to treat the exact individual in front of them. The reason that patients need to see doctors is because a human being can use logic, reason, and rationale to determine potential issues, as well as to think ahead, as conditions change and mutate. Medical malpractice insurance helps protect healthcare professionals as they make these delicate, time-sensitive decisions.
Does Fear Of A Claim Equal Better Patient Care?
Healthcare professionals are almost forced to practice more defensive medicine, in hope (or fear) that if a lawsuit occurs, they can honestly say they covered every possible scenario. Do these practices result in patients receiving better care, or are they the root of existing healthcare issues in North America? The fact is, if patients receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the system works. There may be flaws in the system, but medical malpractice insurance and physicians regulatory insurance help cover healthcare professionals.
Where Can Healthcare Professionals Go Next?
As important as medical malpractice insurance is, where can healthcare professionals go to obtain it? Finding a reputable brokerage that specializes in this type of coverage, and can offer access to a variety of carriers to be able to compare and contrast policies, would be the ideal place to go. A healthcare coverage broker can provide not only this type of coverage, but also HMO reinsurance to help mitigate risk for larger practices.
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