Will More Continuing Physician Education Help Avoid Medical Malpractice?
A good practice for assessing knowledge is testing. We have all experienced testing, from grade school to job applications that we have filled out, and even continuing education for safety courses that we might have to comply with. This seems to a be a routine step for most of us, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, some doctors are very upset over recent changes to skills reviews and testing requirements that could help to lower the incidents of physician mistakes.
Aside from holding a state medical license, about 75 percent of U.S. doctors are certified by 24 privately run boards. These boards signify that they have mastered their area of specialty in fields such as pathology, gerontology and orthopedics.
Specialty boards require their physicians to pass a rigorous set of exams, generally every ten years, to stay certified.
Doctors have begun taking issue with the fact that in recent years, many of these boards have started requiring doctors to enroll in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs in between the exams to show they are still actively learning and improving.
Doctors have been ridiculing the MOC requirements as costly, irrelevant and time-consuming.
However, the pass rate for internists, for example, has dropped from 90 percent five years ago to 65 percent this year. When internists do not pass the test and get a “wake-up call,” they study and the ultimate pass rate goes up to 95 percent, which is a drastic increase.
The American Board of Internal Medicine, the largest specialty board, says that the program takes 5 to 20 hours a year and costs around $2000 over 10 years. That would break down to roughly $200 a year to take the extra step in ensuring patient safety and safeguarding themselves from medical malpractice claims.
While there is no sure way to totally eliminate medical malpractice, this seems a logical and intelligent step in helping to ensure that doctors are treating their patients in a prudent fashion and helping to lessen misdiagnosis and medication errors. Still, it is always important to ask your doctor or physician questions about whatever medical advice that you do not understand or feel unsure about.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area