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Relaying errors helping organizations with lawsuits

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Within the last several years, an increased number of medical organizations have begun implementing disclosure programs where physicians relay any errors that occur to their patients.

This process is done to avoid or lessen any costly lawsuits that ensue after a medical error takes place. International insurance broker Lockton reviewed lawsuits involved with a number of medical practices to conduct a report regarding the disclosure process.

Since the University of Michigan Health System's disclosure approach was implemented in 2001, close to 20 fewer lawsuits were filed, resolution time was reduced from 1.36 years to 0.95 and the average cost per court case declined from $405,921 to $228,308.

Experts related to the report have stated that adopting a disclosure process is "the right thing to do," and could make sense for many types of businesses

"I think health care practitioners, hospitals and clinicians, they're on the disclosure bus; it's left the station," said Nancy Lamo, the report's author and clinical risk consultant at Lockton. "But they're still wondering if it's going to save money or cost money. You can't argue with [the study data]. The data says these disclosures have saved us money."

In addition to Michigan's program, the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Lexington, Virginia also implemented its own disclosure process. Since, the facility has paid significantly less in claims resulting from medical errors and subsequent professional liability lawsuits. 

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