Risk management in obstetric care for family physicians: Results of a 10-year project

Thomas S Nesbitt, Allen Hixon, Jeffrey L. Tanji, Joseph E. Scherger, Dana Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Malpractice issues within the United States remain a critical factor for family physicians providing obstetric care. Although tort reform is being widely discussed, little has been written regarding the malpractice crisis from a risk management perspective. Methods: Between 1989 and 1998, a 10-year risk management study at the UC Davis Health System provided a unique collaboration between researchers, a mutual insurance carrier and family physicians practicing obstetrics. Physicians were asked to comply with standardized clinical guidelines, attend continuing medical education (CME) seminars, and submit obstetric medical records for review. Feedback analysis was provided to each physician on their records, and the insurance carrier tracked interim malpractice claims. Results: One hundred and ninety-four physicians participated, attending to 32,831 births. Compliance with project guidelines was 91%. Five closed obstetric cases were reported with only one settlement reported to the National Provider Data Bank. Physicians believed the project was beneficial to their practices. Conclusions: Family physicians practicing obstetrics are willing to participate in a collaborative risk management program and are compliant with standardized clinical guidelines. The monetary award for successful malpractice claims was relatively low. This collaborative risk management model may offer a potential solution to the current malpractice crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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