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Lockton Report Examines the Pros and Cons of Disclosing Medical Errors

Thursday, May 12, 2011 General News J E 4
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Full disclosure may be "the right thing to do," but at what cost to health care organizations?

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report from Lockton, the world's largest privately owned insurance broker, examines whether the practice of disclosing medical errors when they occur increases or decreases liability costs for health care organizations.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090415/CG99351LOGO)

In "Disclosure of Medical Errors: The Right Thing to Do, But What is the Cost?," Nancy Lamo, RN, BSN, JD, Clinical Risk Consultant for Lockton, found considerable data that supports the idea that disclosure helps mitigate medical malpractice suits, increases patient safety, and ensures other long-term financial benefits.

The Lockton report describes the 2009 analysis of the University of Michigan Health System's medical disclosure approach (by Richard Boothman, et. al.) which provides evidence that disclosure makes financial sense for health care organizations:

  • Fewer lawsuits: 38.7 fewer lawsuits after program implementation
  • Faster resolution: Claim resolution was 1.36 years before program implementation, and 0.95 after
  • Lower costs: Average cost per lawsuit decreased from $405,921 to $228,308

The Lockton report also offers dissenting views from David M. Studdert, currently Federation Fellow at the Centre for Health Policy, Programs & Economics at the Melbourne School of Population Health.

"Advocates for transparency are adamant that the reason for disclosure of medical errors is not cost savings, but the larger goal of patient safety," said Lamo. "Whether additional research will eventually confirm or repudiate Studdert's research remains to be seen. We do know disclosure of medical errors has been increasingly accepted and expected by caregivers, patients, and others interested in patient safety."

The report -- Disclosure of Medical Errors: The Right Thing to Do, But What is the Cost? -- is available free at Lockton.com.

About Lockton

More than 3,800 professionals at Lockton provide more than 15,000 clients around the world with insurance, benefits, and risk management services, offering an uncommon level of client service. From its founding in 1966 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Lockton has grown to become the largest privately held insurance broker in the world and 9th largest overall. Business Insurance recognized Lockton as a "Best Place to Work in Insurance." You can learn more at www.lockton.com.

SOURCE Lockton

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