Author(s): Charles SC, Gibbons RD, Frisch PR, Pyskoty CE, Hedeker D,
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Abstract The current fault-based tort system assumes that claims made against physicians are inversely related to the quality of care they provide. In this study we identified physician characteristics associated with elements of medical care that make physicians vulnerable to malpractice claims. A sample of physicians (n = 248) thought to be at high or low risk for claims was surveyed on various personal and professional characteristics. Statistical analysis showed that 9 characteristics predicted risk group. High risk was associated with increased age, surgical specialty, emergency department coverage, increased days away from practice, and the feeling that the litigation climate was "unfair." Low risk was associated with scheduling enough time to talk with patients, answering patients' telephone calls directly, feeling "satisfied" with practice arrangements, and acknowledging greater emotional distress. Prediction was more accurate for physicians in practice 15 years or less. We conclude that a relationship exists between a history of malpractice claims and selected physician characteristics.
This article was published in West J Med
and referenced in Journal of Socialomics