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Friday, February 15, 2002

Better communication can lower your malpractice risk

Consumers rank "listening to patients" as the most important attribute of a physician, according to the AAOS' own research. But only a little more than half (56.2%) of orthopaedic surgeons consider this an important issue. The AAOS Committee on Professional Liability hopes to address this discrepancy with scientific exhibit 64, which focuses on "Managing Orthopaedic Malpractice Risk."

A bar graph in the exhibit clearly illustrates the discrepancy between orthopaedists' and patients' perception of such activities as listening to, and spending time with, patients. Accompanying text summarizes those patient-centered activities that orthopaedists do well, and those that need improvement. A special feature of the exhibit is an interactive computer self-test. The short questionnaire tests your knowledge of effective ways of managing orthopaedic malpractice risk.

Also featured in the exhibit are the Academy publications Managing Orthopaedic Malpractice Risk and its companion Medical Malpractice: a Primer for Orthopaedic Residents and Fellows. These texts present information essential to orthopaedic surgeons who want to improve patient care and decrease their risk of becoming a defendant in a medical malpractice case.

Based on closed claims data from various physician-owned malpractice insurers across the country over the past ten years, Managing Orthopaedic Malpractice Risk presents information on areas of risk specific to such practice areas as spine surgery and knee arthroscopy a concise, readable format.

"This data is based on detailed study of the medical, legal, and administrative records of over 2,000 actual malpractice claims against orthopaedists over a period of 10 years, and is by far the most extensive review of its kind ever undertaken by any organization," said Jack C. Childers Jr., MD, chair of the AAOS Committee on Professional Liability.

Medical Malpractice: a Primer for Orthopaedic Residents and Fellows succinctly addresses such topics as the special liability status of the orthopaedic resident or fellow, the elements of malpractice and the scope and limitations of professional liability insurance for residents and fellows. It also contains material relevant to practicing orthopaedists. Both monographs are available at the AAOS Resource Center.

The AAOS Committee on Professional Liability is chaired by Jack C. Childers, Jr., MD, Towson, Md. Other investigators for this exhibit include Maureen K. Molloy, MD, Shelburne, Vt.; Richard A. Geline, MD, Skokie, Ill; and Albert E. Sanders, MD, San Antonio, Tex.

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Last modified 06/February/2002