One in 12 Avant radiologist members had a claim for compensation, complaint to a regulator, coronial inquiry or another matter raised about the provision of their care in FY19. However, doctors sometimes have allegations made against them even though they provided appropriate care.
Our medico-legal data
Members asked us for more information about medico-legal matters such as claims for compensation and complaints to regulators. In response we conducted a retrospective review of routinely collected and coded data. The following is based on over 200 matters involving Avant radiologist members from across Australia, indemnified and closed over the five-year period from July 2014 to June 2019.
These insights may help you better understand and manage your medico-legal risks, and optimise the quality and safety of your care.
Common claims and complaints
The majority of medico-legal matters were claims for compensation and regulatory complaints. These related to:
66% of claims and complaints related to diagnosis issues. Of these:
The most common types of diagnoses missed or delayed were:
- Neoplasms e.g. malignant neoplasms.
- Injury and other consequences of external causes e.g. fractures, complications of prosthetic devices/implants or grafts.
- Diseases of the respiratory system e.g. pneumoconiosis.
- Diseases of the nervous system.
15% of claims and complaints were related to procedural issues e.g. injections, of which:
8% of claims and complaints were related to practitioner behaviours. These included issues regarding communication with the team, other providers or patients; boundary transgressions and other practitioner behaviours.
Resolution of matters
When a medico-legal evaluation of expected standards of care was conducted, the doctor was considered to have met the standard in more than half of cases. Regardless, these cases can still take years to resolve.
Our data highlights that claims and complaints against radiologists are fairly infrequent and it is not surprising the majority are related to diagnosis issues.
We also identified other issues that can give rise to claims and complaints, such as communication. In our experience, paying attention to communication with patients can help to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a claim or complaint.
For more information on diagnostic issues, communicating with patients and a wide range of other topics, visit the Avant Learning Centre – where you will find articles, factsheets, case studies, podcasts and many other resources.
If you receive a claim or complaint contact our Medico-legal Advisory Service on 1800 128 268 for expert advice on how to respond, available 24/7 in emergencies.
- Claims refers to claims for money, compensation and civil litigation claims.
- Complaints relates to formal complaints to regulators.
- Matters include; claims, complaints, coronial cases and other matters such as employment disputes and Medicare.
- Employment disputes are matters where Avant defends members against complaints or supports members to resolve employment issues.
For any queries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT: Avant routinely codes information collected in the course of assisting member doctors in medico-legal matters into a standardised, deidentified dataset. This retrospective analysis was conducted using this dataset. The findings represent the experience of these doctors in the period of time specified, which may not reflect the experience of all doctors in Australia. This publication is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practise proper clinical decision-making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published (October 2019).