Hospitalist Closed Claims Study

Hospitalist Cover Image

The Doctors Company analyzed 464 claims against hospitalists that closed from 2007–2014. The study, based on the claims experience of more than 2,100 hospitalists insured by The Doctors Company, includes all claims and lawsuits (cases) in which a hospitalist was named as a defendant. Regardless of the outcome, all cases that closed from 2007–2014 were included in this analysis—an approach that helps us better understand what motivates patients to pursue claims and to gain a broader overview of the system failures and processes that resulted in patient harm. This study provides an overview of the most common types of claims, expert insights into the specific elements that led to patient injury, and risk mitigation strategies.


“Since I coined the term ‘hospitalist’ 20 years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, the field has gone on to be the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine. While the on-site presence and focused expertise of hospitalists has likely prevented many cases of harm and accompanying lawsuits, hospitalists practice in a high-risk environment and are not uncommonly the subject of litigation. This important study illustrates the main areas of risk and points the way to strategies to mitigate this risk.”

Robert M. Wachter, MD
Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine
Interim Chair, Department of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Author of New York Times bestseller, The Digital Doctor

Top Patient Safety Risks for Hospitalists

Watch the video to see the key highlights of the study’s findings, and download the infographic for information on the most common patient safety risks.

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The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider considering the circumstances of the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

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