Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=724781
 
 

References (56)



 
 

Citations (4)



 


 



Reconsidering the Harvard Medical Practice Study Conclusions about the Validity of Medical Malpractice Claims


Tom Baker


University of Pennsylvania Law School

June 6, 2005


Abstract:     
Over fifteen years after first reporting to the State of New York, the Harvard Medical Practice Study (HMPS) continues to have a significant impact in medical malpractice policy debates. In those debates the HMPS has come to stand for four main propositions. First, "medical injury . . . accounts for more deaths than all other kinds of accidents combined" and "more than a quarter of those were caused by substandard care." Second, the vast majority of people who are injured as a result of substandard care do not file a claim. Third, "a substantial majority of malpractice claims filed are not based on provider carelessness or even iatrogenic injury." Fourth, "whether negligence or a medical injury had occurred . . . bore little relation to the outcome of the claims." In light of this continuing reliance on the HMPS and the follow-up closed claim study, this article reviews the evidence regarding their findings about the validity of medical malpractice claims. The results of this review are as follows: First, the finding that most eligible people do not bring medical malpractice claims is well supported and confirmed by other studies using both similar and very different research methods. Second, the finding that most medical malpractice claims are not based on either iatrogenic injury or provider negligence stands on a small and precarious empirical base. Indeed, the HMPS data are as likely to support a very different finding, namely that most malpractice claims are reasonably related to medical management injuries and provider negligence. Finally, the finding from the follow-up closed claim study rests on an even weaker base and is contradicted by a large body of research on closed medical malpractice claims. In fact, the research reviewed in part IIIB of this article suggests that the legal system filters out most of the weaker claims.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: malpractice, health care, liability

JEL Classification: I10, K13

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: May 20, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Baker, Tom, Reconsidering the Harvard Medical Practice Study Conclusions about the Validity of Medical Malpractice Claims (June 6, 2005). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=724781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.724781

Contact Information

Tom Baker (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-746-2185 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/thbaker/
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,248
Downloads: 533
Download Rank: 29,113
References:  56
Citations:  4

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.734 seconds