How can Insurance help physicians improve their medical practice?
Medical Malpractice Insurance is an essential component of a physician’s medical practice. It provides protection to the physician against legal liability from a claim by a patient of injury or death as a result of negligence. The State of Missouri defines Medical Malpractice insurance as follows:
“Medical malpractice insurance means insurance coverage against the legal liability of the insured and against loss, damage, or expense incident to a claim arising out of the death or injury of any person as a result of the negligence or malpractice in rendering professional service by any health care provider.” Missouri Revised Statute 383.100
Medical Malpractice Insurance provides protection against financial hardship in the event of claim by providing the physician with defense to any lawsuit filed against the physician alleging medical negligence. It also provides for payment of liability up to the stated limits in the event of judgment or settlement on behalf of the physician. Most physicians understand that the cost of medical malpractice insurance is a part of the practice in today’s day and age.
However, can Medical Malpractice insurance provider do more than provide financial protections to physicians? Can it also provide tools to the physician that can be used to improve his practice, not only by reducing risks of lawsuits, but also by improving the medical practice. Both Physicians and Medical Malpractice Providers have a preference to reduce both the frequency and severity of medical malpractice claims. In an attempt to help physicians reduce the frequency and severity of medical malpractice claims, the Medical Malpractice providers make available a variety of tools to assist physicians in their practice. Physicians should recognize they can learn from the those in the business of insurance on how to improve their practice by reducing risk the of being sued and by reducing mistakes that can result in adverse judgments against the physician.
One tool available to assist the physician in reducing the risk of medical malpractice claim are the risk management articles that many medical malpractice providers make available. These articles address many topics that are relevant to the risks associated with physician practices. The articles can inform the physician of trends in malpractice lawsuits or claims. This includes areas of practice that are seeing an uptick in claims, for example the number of opioid lawsuits being recently filed. The articles will also suggest what actions the physicians can take to best protect themselves from such a lawsuit. The articles made available by the medical malpractice provider also address issues that impact medical malpractice lawsuits. These articles address such topics as best practices in record keeping, reporting of test results, avoiding medication errors, etc. The physician can also review recommendations to improve communication, dealing with non-compliant patients, dealing with Board of Healing Arts issues or action, and many other issues.
Medical Malpractice providers also provide updates on the law answer questions of concern to physicians. These include information about telemedicine, record retention policy, practicing during the Covid pandemic, and saying sorry to patients who did not have a desired outcome. This can all give practice pointers to physicians so they can comply with state and local laws and regulations. This again can assist physicians in avoiding potential claims by knowing what the law requires or allows them to do in their practice.
Medical Malpractice providers can also provide both risk management advice as well as sample forms and documentation for use in the physician’s practice. This can be an invaluable asset to physicians in helping to reduce risks of medical malpractice lawsuits.