New research finds that paid medical malpractice claims for U.S. physicians has declined over the past two decades.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed trends using the National Practitioner Data Bank, a database created by Congress in 1986 to track claims.
“We’ve found that there was an overall drop in the amount of paid claims across all specialties, but that the magnitude of the decline was markedly different by specialty,” Dr. Adam Schaffer, a hospitalist at BWH, said in a press release.
Researchers found the overall rate of claims paid on behalf of all physicians from 1992 to 2014 decreased 55.7 percent.
Pediatricians saw the largest decline of 75.8 percent and cardiologists having the smallest with 13.5 percent, according to the findings.
However, adjusting for inflation the amount of a claim payment increased by 23.3 percent. Researchers found payments were also dependent on specialty, with neurosurgery having the highest mean payment.
The national database includes information about claims settled on behalf of individual physicians but does not include data on claims where no payment or settlements were made on behalf of institutions, according to the research.
Read the full study in the JAMA Internal Medicine (subscription required).
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