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UMHS malpractice approach wins praise

By Molly Block, Assistant News Editor
Published January 10, 2013

“The transparency and honesty has opened the door and opened our eyes to pockets of problems,” Boothman said. “So right now we can target specific areas that are dangerous. For instance, we know that the culture in the operating room, which tends to be very hierarchical, is dangerous because nurses that do not feel comfortable speaking up to surgeons can lead to bad things.”

In 2010, after DA&O was fully implemented within UMHS, the average monthly rate of new claims decreased from 7.03 to 4.52 for every 100,000 patients seen, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law, the number of new claims in 1999 was 136 and the number of new claims decreased by 2006 to 61.

This model was also praised by the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010 and the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law in 2009. It was featured in the American College of Healthcare Executives’ publication, the Frontiers of Health Services Management, in 2012.

On Dec. 13, 2012, Campbell and Boothman presented DA&O to the University’s Board of Regents as a feasible option for hospitals throughout the country.

The full version of DA&O received additional research grants from the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality to study the effect of the model as a principal response system for malpractice crises.

“We’ve been trying to understand whether it’s portable to other places or not,” Campbell said. “We have our own malpractice insurance and that makes it easier. People wonder if it’s only applicable to groups who have their own insurer, or is it just a function of Boothman’s success as a leader.”

Legislation and research efforts have also been launched in New York, Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon and Florida based on “The Michigan Model.”

DA&O has shifted the focus of medicine from the physicians to patients, according to Boothman.

“We have recognized that medicine for generations has been physician-centric. Even though we are treating patients, the whole system is built around more the convenience of the physician than the interests of the patients,” Boothman said. “This experience has caused us, now going forward, to work hard on becoming patient-centered.”