A recent article on the blog Health Affairs made an important point about the current situation with the health care system when it comes to dealing with medical errors: transparency can significantly improve the outcome of cases in which medical errors occur, even when those errors result in death, but transparency is not the norm, unfortunately.
Transparency in health care, according to advocates, has multiple benefits. These include: increased accountability from physicians and health care providers; motivating providers to improve patient safety in their delivery of care; encouraging trust between providers and patients; and helping patients to make better decisions about the health care providers they with whom they choose to work. These are all obviously good things that could really help improve the functioning of the health care system.
Unfortunately, improving transparency is not going to be an easy task for the health care system. As it stands, there are various factors that stand in the way of change. These include, among others, the fear of discipline, litigation and worries about increased business costs. While these are valid concerns, there is evidence that increasing transparency will not necessarily lead to the negative consequences health systems commonly expect.
Patients who are injured by a negligence physician, of course, do have the right to receive compensation for their injuries. Whether that compensation comes through a settlement or litigation, it is important for patients to work with an experienced attorney to make sure their rights are protected and that they receive the compensation they deserve, regardless of the level of transparency they experienced in their patient care.