Ob/Gyn Patient Safety Guide Published by The Doctors Company

Handbook Offers Ways to Reduce Risks in Deliveries and Women’s Healthcare

Napa, California—April 9, 2014—A handbook about the most common medical malpractice claims in obstetrics and gynecology and ways to reduce risks and promote patient safety has been published by The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer.

The guide provides obstetricians, gynecologists, family practitioners, and mid-level practitioners who are involved in deliveries and women’s healthcare with valuable information from The Doctors Company’s extensive database of malpractice claims. For example, the guide notes that failure to diagnose and delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer are among the most prevalent types of medical malpractice claims encountered in obstetrics and gynecology.

Each topic in the 43-page guide includes a discussion of the associated risks and patient safety recommendations. For example, to promote patient safety when dealing with cervical cancer, physicians are advised to take steps such as providing comprehensive patient education, implementing a mechanism to track diagnostic testing and test results, and documenting the patient’s understanding of the need for subsequent studies.

Topics discussed in the guide are:

  • Amniocentesis for fetal chromosomal analysis.
  • Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia/eclampsia.
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean section.
  • Shoulder dystocia.
  • Indications for placental examination.
  • Indications for placental pathology.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Failure to diagnose cervical cancer.
  • Dealing with nonadherence.

“On average, gynecologists spend 21 months out of a 40-year career fighting malpractice lawsuits, according to a study by Rand Corporation that was based on data from The Doctors Company,” said Robin Diamond, MSN, JD, RN, senior vice president and chief patient safety officer for The Doctors Company. “This guide is designed to help physicians identify potential sources of patient injury and enhance safety within the practice environment so they can spend their time practicing medicine instead of fighting claims.”

The guide was edited by Louis A. Marzano, MD, FACOG, patient safety consultant to The Doctors Company. It was also reviewed by members of the OB Advisory Board, a select group of practitioners from around the country who meet annually with leaders of The Doctors Company to generate insights that can help improve safety for OB professionals.

“This handbook allowed us to immediately assess our current practice model against known risk issues,” said Pablo Argeles, MD/MPH, Annapolis OB/GYN Associates, P.A., and member of the OB Advisory Board. “We are now currently modifying some of our practices in order to increase patient safety and quality and consequently limit future liability.”

About The Doctors Company
Founded by doctors for doctors in 1976, The Doctors Company (www.thedoctors.com) is relentlessly committed to advancing, protecting, and rewarding the practice of good medicine. The Doctors Company is the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, with 74,000 members and $4 billion in assets, and is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings.

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