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Judgment errors rank among top reasons for lawsuits against obstetricians

Errors in clinical judgment, miscommunication and technical mistakes are the three top reasons cited for medical liability cases against obstetricians, according to a report. The study, released in June by CRICO Strategies, analyzed the causes behind more than 800 obstetrician-related medical liability cases filed between 2005 and 2009. CRICO Strategies is an international company that provides risk management software and other services to hospitals and medical liability insurers. The cases studied were taken from CRICO's data collection of 120,000 medical liability claims. Clinical judgment error was cited in 77% of the cases. Miscommunication was mentioned in 36% of the cases, and technical error was noted 26% of the time. Other reasons listed were inadequate documentation, administrative failures and ineffective supervision. The three most common allegations within claims were: Delayed treatment of fetal distress. Improper execution of vaginal delivery. ...

Clinical drug trials enter electronic world

Pfizer is conducting what it calls the first-ever all-electronic drug trial, in which patients at home will report outcomes to the company through the Internet. The testing patients' individual physicians will not be hired as investigators. Instead, the patients will report and manage their trial activities to a central physician investigator who will oversee the entire process. The drug being tested, Detrol LA (tolterodine), prescribed for overactive bladder, already has completed a Phase IV, post-market clinical trial and has been on the market for 10 years. But Pfizer wants to repeat the testing in a Web-based, patient-centered model to see if it replicates the results of earlier trials, and whether this process could be used for future trials -- perhaps changing the clinical drug trial process and potentially saving drug companies a lot of money. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer's electronic study. Pfizer said it hopes to enroll 600 patients from 10 ...

Millions access free Medicare services

Washington -- Nearly one in six patients with traditional Medicare coverage has received preventive care without having to contribute a co-payment or pay a deductible in 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Starting Jan. 1, CMS began waiving out-of-pocket fees for certain preventive services, such as bone-mass measurements, hepatitis B vaccine and tobacco-cessation counseling. Obama administration officials said they believe more patients will seek and receive preventive care because cost barriers to the services have been removed. The program hopefully will save money in the long run by preventing serious illness, they said. Medicare has covered free preventive services for more than 5.5 million patients so far, CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD, told reporters at Dept. of Health and Human Services headquarters on June 20. CMS has seen an increase in utilization of certain individual services. For instance, the Welcome to Medicare visit, an init ...