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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Risk management

Health Law and Policy

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How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver Jan 2019

How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Forty years after the publication of the first systematic study of adverse medical events, there is greater access to information about adverse medical events and increasingly widespread acceptance of the view that patient safety requires more than vigilance by well-intentioned medical professionals. In this essay, we describe some of the ways that medical liability insurance organizations contributed to this transformation, and we catalog the roles that those organizations play in promoting patient safety today. Whether liability insurance in fact discourages providers from improving safety or encourages them to protect patients from avoidable harms is an empirical question that a survey ...