Now available online is the Doctor of Medicine submission by Dr Marie Bismark, entitled Learning from claims and complaints: An epidemiological approach to medical regulation.

The document covers a lot of ground and reproduces a series of previously published articles, including for example an analysis of motivations for medico-legal action. The abstract begins:

This collection of works examines patterns in medico-legal claims and complaints to help improve decision-making by regulatory agencies. The contribution to medical knowledge is threefold: first, we provide new evidence on patient harm as seen through the eyes of medico-legal agencies in Australia and New Zealand; second, we demonstrate new ways to apply epidemiological methods to medico-legal data; and third, we inform the development of evidence-based regulatory policies to better protect the public from harm.

The wide coverage provides content for medico-legal readers with a range of interests, but to me the passage at 3.2.2 is of particular note:

Traditionally, medico-legal agencies have focused on the resolution of individual cases. When they did apply analytical tools, they were often drawn from legal scholarship with a focus on legal principles and precedent. While such tools have their place, they offer a narrow visual field, constraining the ability of agencies to see the patterns that are writ large across hundreds or thousands of cases. Recent decades have seen the growth of the patient safety movement and empirical legal studies. At their intersection lies the field of empirical health law research, where scientific methods rather than legal analysis are applied to medico-legal data. Building on the work of Brennan, Studdert and Mello, we demonstrated the ability for medico-legal researchers to use standard tools from epidemiology and biostatistics (including case-control studies, regression analyses, and survival analyses) to specify risk concentrations, identify problem areas, and patterns of non-reporting.

One thought on “Learning from claims and complaints: An epidemiological approach to medical regulation

Comments are closed.