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Quality Medical Care, Physicians, and Risk Managers

Kevin Jay Long, BS
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(6):635. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430101026.
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[Medical] error rates are too high. They're too high compared to other industries. And they're too high compared to what logically is possible.

Donald Berwick, MD, Institute for Healthcare Improvement1

Physicians and health care risk managers should be concerned whenever quality medical care is not being provided. One of the responsibilities of health care risk managers is to investigate medical malpractice claims.2 This process often involves questioning physicians' patient management to ascertain whether the standard of care was met. The purpose of the risk manager's inquiry is to determine the merits of the malpractice claim and to improve the quality of future medical care by reducing any unwarranted risks. Many physicians resist such inquiries, because they view them as threatening their professional autonomy. As a result, these physicians often mistrust risk managers. This mistrust combined with the omnipresent threat of medical malpractice litigation discourages physician involvement in risk


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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