The Doctors Company analyzed 1,895 claims against orthopedists that closed from 2007–2014. The study found that the top patient allegation—accounting for 46 percent of claims—was improper performance of surgery, but in almost a third of the cases, patients were not in compliance with their treatment plan. The study also showed that the top factor contributing to patient injury, as determined by a panel of experts, was technical performance. However, reviewers found in most of these cases, the claims were related to known risks disclosed to the patient prior to the procedure. We hope that the information presented here prompts physicians to open a discussion in their practice or organization. Access additional resources to help reduce the risks identified in the study.
Top Patient Safety Risks in Orthopedics
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.
Here are additional resources that can help orthopedists avoid issues identified in our Orthopedics Closed Claims Study:
Patient Adherence and Informed Consent
- William J. Robb III, MD, Charles Carroll IV, MD, and Calvin Kuo, MD, “Orthopaedic Surgical Consent: The First Step in Safety.” AAOS Now (February 2013).
- Find more than 100 sample informed consent forms in The Doctors Company Informed Consent Resource Center.
- Greg Maynard, MD, MSc, and Jason Stein, MD, Preventing Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism, A Guide for Effective Quality Improvement, Version 3.3. Society of Hospital Medicine.
- Venous Thromboembolism Quality Improvement Implementation Toolkit, Society of Hospital Medicine.
Surgical Team Training
- Julia Neily, RN, MS, MPH; Peter D. Mills, PhD, MS; Yinong Young-Xu, ScD, MA, MS, et al., “Association Between Implementation of a Medical Team Training Program and Surgical Mortality.” JAMA (October 2010, Vol. 304, No. 15).
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA National Center for Patient Safety: Clinical Team Training.
- Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, and Julie A. Freischlag, MD, “Improving Teamwork to Reduce Surgical Mortality.” JAMA (October 2010, Vol. 304, No. 15).
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Guide to the Elimination of Orthopedic Surgical Site Infections.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Evidence-Based Medicine Information.
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.