Health courts, and how they can save our health care system

Common Good’s Philip K. Howard made it into the NY Times with an op-ed promoting health courts.

It’s a good piece, and covers familiar ground to regular readers of the blog.

He also cites the landmark 2006 NEJM study by David Studdert that I routinely refer to when talking about the current, flawed, state of the malpractice system (it’s like the gift study that keeps on giving): “According to a 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, around 25 percent of cases where there was no identifiable error resulted in malpractice payments. Nor is the system effective for injured patients “” according to the same study, 54 cents of every dollar paid in malpractice cases goes to administrative expenses like lawyers, experts and courts.”

I pretty much agree with everything Mr. Howard writes, but, I’m afraid that health courts have little chance of gaining traction as the powerful plaintiff lobby will resist any change to the current jury system.

However, it’s always good to see publicity surrounding alternative means of resolving malpractice disputes.

No-fault malpractice insurance – my preferred option – as well as increased use of mediation remain two other choices.

The bottom line is that any of these alternative systems are better than what we have now. Both for doctors, and more importantly, for injured patients.