In a recent study analyzing 5,270 medical malpractice claims related to medical events occurring between 2017 and 2019, Coverys, a company providing Medical malpractice Insurance, found that 210 of them were medical malpractice related to negligent care transition that led to an alleged medical error. While medical malpractice related to care transition only represents a small share of all medical malpractice, they have a higher risk of resulting in severe injuries to patients and trigger claims that will result in payments of verdicts and settlements.
When a patient transitions from one healthcare provider to another, it can be difficult for the healthcare providers to proprely collaborate. Miscommunication can occur not only between people but also in the electronic medical records of the patient. Early or rushed discharge as well as not proprely informing the patient and his family about the transition process can also lead to medical errors.
Here are some of the most important findings of this study:
- 61% of all the medical malpractice claims related to care transition studied were related to malpractice occurring during external transitions such as inpatient to rehab, home or office, ED to home or office and outpatient surgery to home. These claims however resulted in 45% of all payments while internal transition (ie ED to surgery) represented 25% of all claims but 34% of the payments and medical office to medical office transfer represented only 14% of the claims but 22% of the payments.
- More than half of the amounts paid were related to diagnosis mostly cause by errors during receipt or transmittal of test results, and by physician not following up proprely with patients. More of than half of the diagnosis related claims were failures to diagnose cancer.
- Almost half (45%) of the care transitions malpractices resulted in patient death and 14% caused severe injury to the patient.
- Only 3 medical specialties were implicated: general medicine, surgery and emergency medicine.
Read the entire report here