JAMA: Patient Safety Risks Also Exist in Physicians' Offices

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College found a high number of adverse events, including major injury and even death, occur in private physician offices and outpatient clinics, according to a New York-Presbyterian Hospital news release.

The study uses malpractice claims data to assess the prevalence of adverse events in the outpatient setting. Using data from the National Practitioner Data Bank from 2005-2009, the researchers compared malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in hospitals versus doctors' offices.

In 2009 alone, close to 11,000 malpractice payments were made on behalf of physicians. Analysis of the data showed that about half of these were for errors that occurred in the hospital setting and half for adverse outcomes resulting from errors at the doctor's office.

The researchers also found that adverse events in hospitals largely have to do with unsuccessful surgery, while negative outcomes in the outpatient setting are most often related to errors in diagnosis. However, surgical errors are occurring with greater frequency in the outpatient setting as more minimally invasive surgeries move to that setting.

Read the news release about adverse outcomes in the outpatient setting.

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