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News

Medical error disclosure program influences gastroenterology-related claims

A study in April's issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology examines the effect of a health system's medical error disclosure program on gastroenterology-related claims rates and costs.

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In 2001, the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) implemented a novel medical error disclosure program.

Dr Megan Adams and colleagues from Michigan, USA analyzed the effect of this program on gastroenterology (GI)-related claims and costs.

The research team performed a review of claims in the UMHS Risk Management Database (1990–2010), naming a gastroenterologist.

Claims were classified according to pre-determined categories.

Claims data, including incident date, date of resolution, and total liability dollars, were reviewed.

Of the total number of claims, 42% related to a procedure
American Journal of Gastroenterology

Mean total liability incurred per claim in the pre- and post-implementation eras was compared.

The research team reviewed patient encounter data from the Division of Gastroenterology in order to benchmark claims data with changes in clinical volume.

The team found 238,911 GI encounters in the pre-implementation era, and 411,944 in the post-implementation era.

The researchers observed that a total of 66 encounters resulted in claims, with 38 in the pre-implementation era, and 28 in the post-implementation era.

Of the total number of claims, 15% alleged delay in diagnosis/misdiagnosis, 42% related to a procedure, and 42% involved improper management, treatment, or monitoring.

The team noted that the reduction in the proportion of encounters resulting in claims was statistically significant, as was the reduction in time to claim resolution.

The researchers also found a reduction in the mean total liability per claim.

Dr Adams' team concludes, "Implementation of a novel medical error disclosure program, promoting transparency and quality improvement, not only decreased the number of GI-related claims per patient encounter, but also dramatically shortened the time to claim resolution."

Am J Gastroenterol 2014; 109:460–464
09 April 2014

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