Clinical Communication Programme reduces risk of doctor complaints and claims

Completion of the Cognitive Institute developed Clinical Communication Programme has been found to significantly reduce the likelihood of high risk doctors being the subject of future complaints or claims.

The Clinical Communication Programme; an effective intervention for reducing future risk for high risk physicians, published in Volume 9, Issue 1 of the Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management today, details the results of a study of a group of 58 medical practitioner members of the Medical Protection Society (MPS) following their participation in the programme, which includes a three day intensive residential programme.

The study group was recruited from doctors identified as having a risk profile that placed them in the top 1% of MPS members with regard to their rate of complaints and claims. Prior to completing the programme participants had an average annual event rate (claim, preclaim, disciplinary and regulatory episode) of .42, or 1 event per every 2.3 years of membership.

Following completion of the programme, the number of claims fell significantly to .26, or one event per every 3.8 years of membership. However four participants who experienced no reduction in event frequency accounted for 75 per cent of all post-intervention claims. Nearly four years after completing the programme, half of the participants remained complaint and claim free.

These reductions took place at a time of increasing rates of complaints, claims and regulatory actions against doctors in the UK.

“We know from studies from around the world, including Australia, that a small percentage of our colleagues account for between 25 and 50 per cent of all claims and complaints made,” Cognitive Institute Medical Director Dr Mark O’Brien said today. 

“What this study shows is that we can assist many of those colleagues to reduce their risk of complaints and claims by working with them to improve their interpersonal skills and behaviour. 

“This has a positive impact not only on the individual doctor and their practice, but for their patients, the organisations they work for, and their professional indemnifier.

“At a time of increasing rates of complaints and claims in many countries this is the first study we are aware of that demonstrates supportive training of doctors who have high risk profiles makes a difference to the future care they provide to their patients.”

Research into the effectiveness of the Clinical Communication Programme continues with further studies expected to be published.

Read the study

For information on the Clinical Communication Programme, presenters, related workshops and courses contact us today.

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