A Dose Of Reality For Medical Malpractice Reform

“But the belief stated by the Institute of Medicine and echoed by many others—that malpractice litigation cannot coexist with patient safety innovations—has proven false. The conventional wisdom is that the secrecy surrounding malpractice litigation impairs efforts to have open conversations about error. Although this appears to have once been true, the openness and transparency promoted by the patient safety movement have pried open the historically secretive world of malpractice litigation. In hospitals across the country, malpractice suits are treated as another source of information to be gathered, analyzed, and acted upon. And risk, quality, and claims personnel believe litigation produces information about previously unknown instances of medical error and valuable details of events. Each of these findings should inform current understandings of the effects of lawsuits on patient safety and debates about malpractice reform. ”

– Joanna C. Schwartz, “A Dose Of Reality For Medical Malpractice Reform” New York University Law Review