Increasingly, small medical practices are closing up shop because of burdensome regulations, rising costs and increasing complications associated with processing insurance claims. Doctors are joining large medical groups or practices and patients are left with fewer options. This can be a bad thing in terms of patient care quality and in terms of reducing the risks of medical mistakes.
When a victim suffers an injury because of medical negligence, it is important to understand who is to blame. When a medical mistake is made by a South Carolina doctor who is part of a large medical group, it may be possible to make a claim against both the physician and the employer. A medical malpractice lawyer can help determine who, if anyone or any entity, is to blame after an error occurs.
Medscape published a summary of several recent studies touting the benefits of smaller medical malpractices as compared to larger ones. The research suggests that small practices can be a viable alternative to larger medical groups, despite the fact that many primary care physicians are closing their private practices. Furthermore, small practices may produce better clinical outcomes for patients.
Large medical groups generally work based on economies of scale, with the medical group seeing many patients on a daily basis. The doctors and healthcare providers in the large practices take a team approach to providing patient care in many situations. Often, a patient will see a different doctor for different treatments or at each checkup or visit.
When a patient is seen by a doctor at a small primary care practice, on the other hand, the doctor and patient relationship is deeper. The physician can provide more personalized care and can get to know the patient. The doctor is also less restricted in the type of care that he or she can provide since there is not a large, impersonal organization setting the rules for how to treat medical problems.
When a patient sees a different doctor and doesn’t get to develop a strong doctor/patient relationship, a variety of problems can arise. Doctors may not identify symptoms of problems as readily since they don’t get to see how the patient’s health is evolving over time. There could also be a greater risk of a doctor not realizing that medications will react badly since different doctors may prescribe different medications.
There are myriad studies suggesting patients can have better outcomes with smaller practices. For example, as Medscape reports, a study in Health Affairs found that practices with one to two doctors had 33 percent lower ambulatory care-sensitive admission rates than practices with between 10 and 19 doctors. Another 2013 study showed that small practices typically had lower readmission rates to hospitals as compared with larger practices. In 2010, yet another study reviewing practices with between five and 750 physicians found that the smaller medical practices did not have as many ambulatory care-sensitive admissions.
Patients should understand how their choice of medical practice may impact their care, and they should get help if mistakes are made by a doctor at any size South Carolina medical practice. A malpractice attorney can provide advice and legal representation if medical mistakes lead to harm.