Picking a doctor can be a very difficult decision, as it can impact the quality of care a person receives. Thus, when a state entity provides doctor information that the public might use in making this important decision, one would hope the information is accurate. Recently, the accuracy of the medical malpractice information provided by one state resource in Connecticut has come into question.
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health provides public information on their website about doctors in the state. This information is contained in online doctor profiles. One piece of information that is supposed to be in these profiles is malpractice history. Specifically, a doctor’s profile is supposed to list any malpractice payment the physician has made in the past ten years.
However, according to a recent article by the Hartford Courant, this state-provided resource may currently be failing to list some of this information. The article claimed that over 100 malpractice-related incidents that should have been reported in the physician profiles were missing. The article indicated that these errors might be connected to a recent update of the online profiles.
As we have discussed, medical malpractice can have a major impact on patients. It can sometimes lead to serious injuries and (in severe cases) death. Consequently, information regarding a physician’s malpractice history is very relevant to a patient’s decision regarding choice of doctor. Thus, a state resource compiling this information could potentially be very valuable to patients in Connecticut.
However, this value disappears if the information provided by the resource is incorrect. In fact, inaccurate information could cause this resource to hurt rather than help patients. It could cause a patient to make a decision regarding their choice of doctor that they wouldn’t have made if they had access to the correct information.
Thus, if the Department of Public Health’s website does in fact contain incorrect malpractice information about doctors, one hopes they fix this problem soon.
Source: Hartford Courant, “Malpractice Cases Missing From State Website,” Matthew Kauffman, 9 Jan 2011