First Public Malpractice Database Gives Glimpse Into Physicians' Records

HealthGrades on Tuesday launched the first national online database of all public physician malpractice records from the 15 states that report the data, the Denver Business Journal reports.

The database, available on the HealthGrades Web site, includes details on malpractice judgments, settlements and arbitration awards against physicians in California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.

About 3% of physicians in the database between 2001 and 2005 received a malpractice settlement or judgment, but that percentage is probably lower than the actual number because the data are based on state records that have thresholds for reporting claims, according to HealthGrades (Denver Business Journal, 3/27).

In addition, there is a wide range of how much data each state provides and how long the data remains on a physician's record, according to a HealthGrades press release.

According to HealthGrades' database, the highest percentage of malpractice incidents are in the specialty fields of:

  • Bariatric surgery;
  • Maternal fetal medicine;
  • Neurosurgery;
  • Obstetrics and gynecology; and
  • Cardiothoracic surgery.
The HealthGrades Web site also includes ratings and profiles of about 700,000 physicians nationwide (HealthGrades press release, 3/27).

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