Reduce Medical Liability Risks with Diagnostic Accuracy

Posted on June 07, 2019

This article from Coverys is published in appreciation of its generous support of the MHA 100 Year Anniversary.

Coverys MHA 100 Year Anniversary SponsorDiagnosis-related events are the single largest root cause of medical professional liability claims. With nearly 84% of adults and 93% of children seeking medical attention requiring diagnosis each year, it’s not surprising the numbers are high1. Claims associated with diagnoses account for a staggering 47% of all claims.2 And 54% of diagnostic-related claims are high-severity cases ― 36% resulting in death.2

In today’s demanding healthcare environment, there are many distractions vying for the attention of medical professionals. The healthcare process is riddled with risk and variability, and perhaps the most complex area within the process is diagnostic accuracy. Providing an accurate diagnosis can perplex even the most skilled diagnosticians. Now more than ever, it is important for healthcare providers to seek data-driven insights to help them make accurate diagnoses.

As a medical professional liability insurer serving the healthcare community for over 40 years, Coverys can provide claims data to illuminate risks and evidence-based recommendations to mitigate them.

While healthcare professionals know the steps involved in making a timely and accurate diagnosis, they may not have the data that shows where they are most vulnerable. That is why is it important to understand where risks reside in each step of the process.

Vulnerabilities within the diagnostic process begin with the patient’s first visit and continue through the follow-up phase. By breaking out the diagnostic process, it becomes clear where the most risks occur.

Claims by Step of the Diagnostic Process


History & Physical Evaluation of Patient


Ordering Diagnostic/Lab Tests


Interpretation of Test Results


Referral Management


Physician Follow-Up with Patient


Receipt/Transmittal of Test Results


Performance of Tests

N = 3,466 Coverys closed claims between 2013-2017 with diagnosis-related allegation.

These numbers truly reflect the human and financial costs that are associated with each step and reinforce how listening, communicating, and data interpretation are key in giving an accurate diagnosis.

To learn more about diagnostic-related risks, download the Coverys Diagnostic Accuracy Report.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, “Ambulatory Care Use and Physician Office Visits.”

2. Mark L. Graber, MD, “The Incidence of Diagnostic Error in Medicine,” BMJ Quality & Safety, Vol 22, Iss Suppl 2.


  • Reduce Medical Liability Risks with Diagnostic Accuracy

Tags: sponsors, MHA 100 Year Anniversary, Coverys

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