Study: Diagnostic Errors Represent Most Common, Costly Malpractice Claims

Diagnostic errors are both the most common and the most costly when it comes to malpractice claims, according to a study in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Researchers analyzed 350,706 diagnosis-related claims from the National Practitioner Data Bank over a 25-year period (1986-2010), comparing frequency, severity and cost to other paid malpractice claims.

Results showed diagnostic errors to be the leading type of paid claims (100,249 claims, 28.6 percent of the total) and represented the highest proportion of total malpractice claim payments (35.2 percent). The inflation-adjusted total of diagnosis-related payments was $38.8 billion over the 25-year period.

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