Medical malpractice is an issue in the health care industry that needs to not only be taken very seriously, but also addressed appropriately. Medical practice not only ruins the life of the patients and their family, but also the lives of the physicians involved and can severely damage the reputation of a hospital. On top of all of this, it can cost the health care institution millions of dollars. Therefore, it is important that we take a preventative approach to preventing any type of malpractice situation by having a detailed plan and process in place.
Analysis of the Stages and Impact of Malpractice in Healthcare
Medical malpractice laws were put into place to insure that doctors improve the quality of care by driving out all the bad physicians while making sure the other providers are very careful while giving care. The stages of a medical malpractice case are; it has to be proven that there is an existence of a doctor-patient relationship. Under a particular circumstance a standard of medical care that the doctor owed the patient. The patient needs evidence that the physician breached the medical care standards. Documents and evidence that the patient was injured then provide and prove the physician’s negligence caused or contributed to the patient’s injuries (Law Doctors, 2017). According to Harris, D. M. (2014) “to prevail in a suit for medical malpractice the plaintiff must be able to introduce so evidence on all of the essentials elements of a negligence care duty, breach of duty, causation and damage, even if the plaintiff could prove the first three elements, no recovery could occur without at least some evidence that the plaintiff suffered damages”. In case Bost v. Riley, 44 N.C. APP. 638, 262 S.E. 2D 391 (Citations Omitted), cert denied, 300 N.C. 194, 269 S.E. 2d 621 (1980). The court denied the plaintiff claim because they could not prove that the physician neglected the patient. The judge denied the plaintiff plea because the attorney could not provide the right amount of evidence to convict that it was the physician’s fault that the patient was harmed. The plaintiff showed all the essential documentation of what the plaintiff had had done but, he or she could not provide information that it was the physician who neglected the patient.
Analyze the Process Available After Adverse Medical Events in Healthcare
According to “Adverse Health Care Events Reporting System” (2009), “The reporting law was envisioned as a system for enhancing both accountability and transparency. While counting events is important, the true strength of the adverse events reporting system has always been its focus on learning, sharing of information about root causes and best practices for prevention, and increased awareness of and transparency about adverse events”. The purpose of this law is to improve quality of care within healthcare. Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers have within thirty days to report the following events after the initial discovery:
According to Ottawa (2009), “Each of the responses to an adverse event requires its own method of handling information. These separate flows are what make the system work – for the patient, the health care providers involved and for the system as a whole. While the specific nature of the disclosure, reporting and review will vary depending upon the situation, they will comprise one or more of the following:
- Surgical or Invasive Procedure events
- Product or Device events
- Patient Protection events
- Care Management events
- Environment events
- Radiological events
- Potential Criminal events (“Illinois Health and Hospital Association”, 2005).
Appropriate disclosure to the patient;
Protected discussion in support of quality improvement and enhanced patient safety; and
Prescribed reporting procedures and information protocols for accountability responses that are in keeping with procedural fairness.
The diagram below describes steps that can be taken in the event of an adverse event.
Analyze Legal Requirements of Health Care Reform and Their Impact on Patient Care
- (Ottawa, 2009)
The healthcare reform was passed on March 2010 and began to introduce different kinds of monetary and different changes that were designed to help with slowing down the health care costs. The assessment of the new reform law have focused on the federal budget impact, and also effects the national reform with total health and insurance regarding premiums and expenditures that an American family will most likely pay monthly.
The congress has made many changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), by reconciling the ACA findings there should be a reduction within the first 10 years. Our federal budget will not change the healthcare system, but however a portion of the money will reduce the costs for individuals who already have health insurance but some are still struggling to afford it. Our smaller businesses are able to receive help with insurance that needs to be paid for; the estimated spending and separate costs in the healthcare will transfer money to private sectors of our government.
The CMS estimates that the health system will impact the ACA only because there will be an increase in medical spending that will result with the reform. However, the analysis will always be limited because there is no record for improving important information that may affect all providers and their financial means. With the new reform, that is about to take place, there will be more savings with the CMS which means, that care plans will be able to have a level of comparable in costs of coverings, beneficiaries, smaller increases, and will likely increase productivity and debts.
Our federal budget will also be impacted because Congress estimates that this law will reduce the deficit by 143 billion dollars within the next 10 years. This estimate will impact different in two ways, there will be savings with Medicare and Medicaid, and reductions with employer spending for health insurance that ultimately lead to increases with wages and yearly salary (Cutler, 2010). There should be at least a 90 percent of private insurances will be passed on to every employer along with increased wages. By the year 2019, there will be in healthcare cost and its growth. There will be more than 15 percent of premiums for a larger work place and 20 percent of those premiums will be for smaller work places and individual insurance. This is supposed to help insurances be able to exchange offers and choices for all plans and being able to compare them.
Analyze Strategies That Could Be Put In Place to Help Avoid Malpractice
There are many factors that lead to medical malpractice. Some common, yet avoidable factors that contribute to malpractice include: missing or incorrect information leading to failures in communication; misinterpretations amid physicians and patients (and all disciplines); and failure to follow up with patients. That is why it is important for healthcare organizations to have strategies such as teach-back method and standardized electronic medical records in place to help avoid malpractice.
The teach-back method, or show-me method is a great strategy for all healthcare organizations to have in place to help combat the issue of malpractice. This method involves reviewing and confirming the patient understands by asking them to state in their own words what they should know and do regarding their health (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015). It helps providers confirm that the manner in which they conveyed information to the patient is understood. Teach-back method also helps reduce the amount of calls providers have to make and dropped appointments, and improves patient safety, satisfaction, and objectives (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015).
Standardized Electronic Medical Records
Many providers use their EHRs in a nonstandard manner, rarely considering how this may affect them in the event of a malpractice. The risk of malpractice increases when patients transfer healthcare providers, which is why a standardized EHR system is important. Standardizing not only helps healthcare organizations meet financial needs, it also enhances patient safety and goals. Every dimension of EHR selection is subject to examination in the course of malpractice. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) states that healthcare organizations are covered entities and responsible for preserving the integrity of patient health records, not the vendor, consultant or system integrator; which further validates the importance of a standardized EHR.
In conclusion a large responsibility lies on us and our health care organization to make patient safety our top concern. Proper training and hiring the best possible staff can help us eliminate the risk and probability of medical malpractice. While understanding that we are only human and mistakes are inevitable at times, there are a lot of steps that can be taken to prevent human error. As long as we understand the medical malpractice process we can find ways to overcome it.
Adverse health care events reporting system. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.health.state.mn.us/patientsafety/ae/09aheeval.pdf
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2015). Use the Teach-Back Method: Took #5.
Cutler, D.M. (2010) The Impact of Health Reform on Health System Spending,
Harris, D. M. (2014). Contemporary issues in healthcare law and ethics (4th ed.). Chicago, IL :
Health Administration Press.
Law Doctors, (2017). Stages of a Medical Malpractice Care. Retrieved by
Ottawa, ON. (2009). Reporting and responding to adverse events: A medical liability perspective
[Diagram A- Response To Adverse Event]. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from https://www.cmpa-acpm.ca/-/reporting-and-responding-to-adverse-events-a-medical-liability-perspective