Coverys Launches Inaugural Red Signal Report Analyzing Radiology-Related Medical Professional Liability Claims

Report analyzes five years of closed claims to identify risks and improve patient safety.

Boston, MA - August 14, 2018 - Coverys, a leading provider of medical professional liability insurance, today released their inaugural Red Signal ReportSM to help identify risks and illuminate the warning signals and safety vulnerabilities within radiology practices. This is the first in an ongoing series of reports taking conventional claims trend reporting to a new level.
“More and more brokers, consultants, and insureds have been requesting claims data analytics that deliver more than just trends. Coverys’ Red Signal Report series will link claims signals to assessment methodologies and include suggestions for education and practice change initiatives that can contribute to improvement of patient outcomes and satisfaction metric,” said Kevin Kelly, Vice President, Business Development, for Coverys.   
The first Red Signal Report analyzes more than 10,000 closed medical professional liability claims across a five-year period from 2013-2017. The report identifies radiology-related signal events and includes evidence-based recommendations for addressing these issues.
“Errors in radiology are unfortunately common and can have a severe and potentially life-threatening effect on those patients who are impacted by mistakes like a missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis,” said Robert Hanscom, Vice President, Business Analytics, for Coverys and author of the report. “Examining radiology claims data can help signal potential vulnerabilities, and by analyzing claims data and assessing where these gaps in clinical care and education lie, there is a real opportunity to reduce error, prevent harm, and improve patient outcomes.”
Key findings from the report include:
  • Roughly 15% of malpractice claims with a diagnosis-related allegation involve radiologists, second only to those of general medicine providers.
  • Within diagnosis-related claims, 80% result from the misinterpretation of clinical tests.
  • Over 80% of missed-diagnosis claims involved permanent injuries to the patient or death.
  • Among radiology claims associated with a diagnostic failure, the largest number of cases involve a missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer.
  • The types of cancer most often associated with the misinterpretation of diagnostic tests are breast, lung, pancreatic, and ovarian.
Because value-based purchasing has emerged as the accepted method of predicting the financial health of an organization, reducing error is critical for radiologists and healthcare systems to generate the highest reimbursements and incentives. In order to proactively prevent these potentially dangerous and financially damaging pitfalls, the Red Signal Report provides a number of clear recommendations on the ways in which providers can proactively avoid errors in the radiology practice. Through the use of decision support tools, standard treatment protocols, formal quality improvement methods, and specific reporting criteria, practitioners and radiology staff can more effectively manage workflow and meet patient needs to ensure safety and adequate reimbursements.
“Radiologists play a critical role in the delivery of an accurate patient diagnosis, and by learning from historic data and identifying the areas most prone to mistakes, we can proactively reduce errors prior to harm ever reaching the patient, leading to better overall outcomes,” said Hanscom.
The report is available for download on the Coverys website here.