Why Early Intervention is Critical to Care Teams and Their Organizations

January 4, 2024
Malpractice claims and lawsuits add to the stress for clinicians and care teams

Sadly, in healthcare, things can go wrong despite best intentions. This could be an adverse outcome of a procedure, a diagnosis delay, or a surgical error. Oftentimes, these harm events cause unintentional ripples of hurt—for patients, clinicians, care teams and healthcare organizations. Harm events, which may not be due to medical negligence, can result in malpractice claims or lawsuits, and drain the passion and compassion of even the most confident clinicians. But the impact doesn’t end there. When clinicians and care team members struggle, their healthcare organizations also feel the impact.

A recent Medscape Physicians and Malpractice Report 2023 survey asking physicians on how often they’d been sued for medical malpractice notes that, “encountering a malpractice lawsuit can shock many physicians, trigger a range of emotions and cost irreplaceable time, money and reputational damage.” The emotional impact of claims and lawsuits remains a critical factor in the wellbeing and professional lives of affected physicians and other involved healthcare professionals. Clinicians under the stress of a harm event, malpractice claim, or lawsuit may see fewer patients, disrupt care team cohesion, retire early or leave the practice of medicine altogether—actions that lower productivity, raise costs, and detract from team and patient satisfaction.

Early intervention is key to reducing the amount of suffering involved

Early intervention begins with a simple step: reporting an unanticipated outcome to us. This launches our early intervention program and begins a thorough event analysis to inform the next steps, all the way through to resolution. Our program aims to offer a healthier, more compassionate and meaningful experience of closure for patients, senior living residents, families, care teams and clinicians.

The main goal of our early intervention program is to address harm events sooner so everyone involved can get to a point of resolution and move toward healing faster. In addition, we know from experience that reporting harm events right away is key to learning from mistakes or care process errors so they can be mitigated in the future. These process improvements are critical for care teams and organizations as they move forward and can have a profound effect on the emotional wellbeing of those harmed, while also alleviating stress and sadness for the clinicians and care teams.

New research shows that intervening early speeds resolution, lowers costs and promotes healing

Our early intervention experience over the past several years shows the following positive results:

  • Cases that were managed under our early intervention program closed nearly 18 ½ months sooner on average than claims and lawsuits where we did not intervene early, in the same period. The longer that cases are open, the more suffering there is for all involved.
  • Cases that were managed through our early intervention program and closed with indemnity show a 94% reduction in overall expenses.
  • Over the past three years, harm events have been reported nearly a year sooner. We know from experience that reporting harm events right away is key to learning from mistakes.
  • Ninety-eight percent of client survey respondents whose cases were managed through our early intervention program gave the highest rating for overall satisfaction.

Our overarching goal with early intervention is to manage and resolve harm events before they escalate to claims or lawsuits, and to also help care teams and organizations uncover event learnings to mitigate their risk moving forward.

Curi’s risk mitigation resources and guidance are offered for educational and informational purposes only. This information is not medical or legal advice, does not replace independent professional judgment, does not constitute an endorsement of any kind, should not be deemed authoritative, and does not establish a standard of care in clinical settings or in courts of law. If you need legal advice, you should consult your independent/corporate counsel. We have found that using risk mitigation efforts can reduce malpractice risk; however, we do not make any guarantees that following these risk recommendations will prevent a complaint, claim, or suit from occurring, or mitigate the outcome(s) associated with any of them.

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