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Claim Report Addresses Events Resulting In Patient Harm

A recent announcement from researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlighted that medical errors at hospitals and other large healthcare facilities should rank as the third leading cause of deaths in the United States.

CHICAGO, May 5, 2016 — A recent announcement from researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlighted that medical errors at hospitals and other large healthcare facilities should rank as the third leading cause of deaths in the United States. The findings of the CNA Hospital Professional Liability Claim Report 2015: Stepping Up to Quality Healthcare and Patient Safety identify patient death as the most common injury in closed claims over the ten-year period analyzed in the insurance company’s publication.

The report’s analysis regarding patient deaths revealed that:
   

  • Death is the most common injury, comprising 34.3 percent of the closed claims.
      
  • Overall improper care was the allegation most frequently related to patient death, followed by allegations related to diagnosis or medication error in this data set reflecting 203 closed claims.
      
  • Death was the most frequent injury outcome for:
     
    • Emergency department-related claims (47.7 percent of 107 closed claims)
        
    • Medication error-related claims (48.1 percent of 52 closed claims)
        
    • Medicine patient and ambulatory care-related claims (50.7 percent of 138 closed claims)
        
    • Pressure ulcers-related claims (41.9 percent of 31 closed claims)
          

In discussing the John’s Hopkins findings, one of the researchers noted that patient handoffs in an emergency department represent a significant vulnerability in the hospital setting.  Frequently, healthcare professionals inadvertently fail to convey critical patient information to one another.  

“Communication among healthcare providers is critical in any situation, but particularly in an emergency department,” said Joyce Benton, Assistant Vice President, Risk Control, CNA. “Research has shown that ineffective or inadequate communication is a major factor in medical errors and near-misses, especially during handoffs and other transitions in care.”

The Hospital Professional Liability Claim Report recommendations related to improving communication include:
   

  • Train staff to use structured formats for exchanging information, such as the “Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation” method.
      
  • Encourage use of the chain of command, and prohibit any retaliation on the part of colleagues or supervisors.
      
  • Develop an effective procedure to manage diagnostic test result reporting and follow up.
         

The Hospital Professional Liability Claim Report 2015 is a publication of the CNA Healthcare and Risk Control units. For more information, please contact Brandon Davis at 312-822-5167 or Brandon.Davis@cna.com.  

About CNA  
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country’s eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 14th largest property and casualty company. CNA’s insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine, and other property and casualty coverages. CNA's services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. "CNA" is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

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CONTACTS:  
Brandon Davis, 312-822-5167 / 312-834-6091  
Sarah Pang, 312-822-6394 / 312-607-5544

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