Medical practice management tools could reduce doctor liability

While much of the attention of the medical community is currently focused on how the ICD-10 transition, electronic medical records software installation process and other emerging industry changes are affecting the average healthcare professional, new studies show that some problems remain just as large as ever, even though they now share the spotlight with other concerns.

For example, according to a December 21 report by the American Medical Association, medical liability claims have increased in cost by 63 percent from 2001 and more than 40 percent since 2005, a fact that potentially puts many doctors and private practices at risk following a healthcare error.

The average expense that doctors paid to defend a medical liability claim in 2010 was nearly $48,000, and even though around 66 percent of all these suits were eventually dropped, withdrawn or dismissed, these claims still took their toll on many in the industry, as the average dropped claim cost doctors $26,851 in 2010.

"Information in the new studies paints a bleak picture of the cost burden caused by excess litigation against physicians and bolsters the case for national and state level medical liability reforms," AMA president Peter Carmel said in a statement. "We all pay the price for our broken medical liability system and the direct effect it has on the cost of medical care."

But, even though medical errors are likely to remain a concern for those practicing in the industry, small facilities and private practices can take steps to ensure that they are limiting the distractions that can cause these professionals to put their focus on concerns that lie outside of patient care. For example, with medical practice management software, doctors can gain the tools they need to ensure that their staff remain productive and properly resourced no matter what challenges come their way.

Microwize Technology is a leading retailer of healthcare IT products, including electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Lytec, Allscripts and McKesson.