Abstract and Keywords
This chapter assesses theory and evidence on the efficacy of medical malpractice liability and limitations to it in improving healthcare outcomes, and identifies unresolved issues that merit further attention from scholars. First, it explores the theoretical and legal background on medical malpractice. It then turns to the available evidence by focusing on three basic areas of study: the impact of malpractice limitations on payouts and litigation, the effect of malpractice limitations on overall healthcare costs, and the effect of malpractice on two major cost drivers in the healthcare system: cardiac and obstetrics practice. It argues that limitations on liability did not and likely cannot significantly reduce healthcare costs. Finally, the chapter discusses new and important trends in the literature regarding reforms to standards of care and the role of clinical practice guidelines and communication and disclosure programs.
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