What will tomorrow bring? The ability to predict the future would be quite special, but how about an educated prediction based on data from other industries, the pace of change, and emerging trends in healthcare. My prediction is “all patients will be able to obtain information (past disciplinary actions, medical malpractice history, personal information, etc…) in one fashion or another about their healthcare providers.” I say this for three main reasons:
- Transparency – in virtually every industry and all spaces of our lives we are becoming more transparent. For example – Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, LinkedIn, (only to name a few). Add in the YouTube, a multitude of blogs, and things not yet created from the future and you see that the ability to access information has become easier in the past decade.
- Pace of Change – if you Google “Factors affecting the pace of change” you will receive 86,900,000 results in 0.33 seconds. Technology is driving how quickly things change today. Many studies have been done, but a common theme derived is that things are changing so fast today that our society is in a constant state of change.
- Emerging Trends –
- The ability to measure and quantify quality data
- Ability to communicate the quality of care to patients
- Pay for performance initiatives
- Educated consumers researching their providers in advance
What does this have to do with Medical Malpractice and why should healthcare providers care? It is my belief (and a reality in some states already) that data surrounding medical professional liability will continue to become more transparent. As a provider, what can you do to protect yourself? First, choose a Medical Professional Liability company who will not settle a lawsuit in which you did not breach the standard of care. Ask carriers for their data surrounding their defense history which will allow you to make an informed decision. Secondly, manage your brand as a provider (reputation, social and traditional media and web presence).