In a year (or two) that’s already seen pressures on medical providers escalate, there’s more bad news out there: Medical malpractice insurance premiums are on the rise — and they’re expected to continue increasing over the next two years.
According to the experts, the medical malpractice market had been “soft” for more than a decade. Still, it started to rapidly experience increases about two years ago as insurers began to anticipate more claims and bigger losses. Doctors in some areas have seen renewal rates double and premiums jump by 20% or more.
Even worse, the current increase is just the start of what’s expected to be a bell-shaped curve, so it’s going to get more expensive still. That makes doing everything you can to limit your malpractice claims more essential than ever.
How do you avoid malpractice claims?
Nobody’s perfect, so there’s always a possibility that you’ll make a mistake that could lead to a malpractice claim, but take heart: A survey by the American Medical Association found that only 7% of all malpractice claims ever go to trial — and the defendants win 88% of those.
What’s the number one thing you can do to limit the chances that you’ll face a malpractice lawsuit in the next few years? Work on developing your patient-physician relationships.
Research shows that patients are less likely to sue a physician when:
- They believe the physician actively listens to their concerns
- They feel like they are given appropriate time during visits
- They feel like the physician is actually invested in their health
Physicians who ask patients about their feelings, consider a patient’s complaints carefully, explain (or offer to explain) why one course of treatment is being prescribed over another and treat the physician-patient relationship as a partnership are much less likely to end up in court.
Medical malpractice claims are incredibly common, and a single claim does not reflect your skills as a physician. Just make sure that you fully explore all of your defense options.