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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Paid malpractice claims for adverse events in inpatient and outpatient settings.

Bishop TF, Ryan AM, Ryan AK, et al. JAMA. 2011;305:2427-31.

Analyzing malpractice claims is a common strategy for evaluating potential patient safety issues, particularly in high-risk settings such as surgery, anesthesia, and obstetrics and gynecology. This study conducted a similar analysis of paid malpractice claims and found that 43% occurred in the ambulatory setting, a notable increase from 2005 to 2009. The most common reason for a paid claim was diagnostic in the ambulatory setting (similar to findings from a past study) and surgical in the inpatient setting. Major injury and death were the two most common outcomes in both settings with mean payment amount significantly higher in the inpatient setting. Advocating for effective risk management programs, an accompanying editorial [see link below] highlights how malpractice risk is increasing and under-recognized in the ambulatory setting. A past AHRQ WebM&M conversation and perspective discuss the intersection between risk management and patient safety.