Association of Simulation Training With Rates of Medical Malpractice Claims Among Obstetrician-Gynecologists

Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Aug 1;138(2):246-252. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004464.

Abstract

Objective: To compare malpractice claim rates before and after participation in simulation training, which focused on team training during a high-acuity clinical case.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis comparing the claim rates before and after simulation training among 292 obstetrician-gynecologists, all of whom were insured by the same malpractice insurer, who attended one or more simulation training sessions from 2002 to 2019. The insurer provided malpractice claims data involving study physicians, along with durations of coverage, which we used to calculate claim rates, expressed as claims per 100 physician coverage years. We used three different time periods in our presimulation and postsimulation training claim rates comparisons: the entire study period, 2 years presimulation and postsimulation training, and 1 year presimulation and postsimulation training. Secondary outcomes included indemnity payment amounts, percent of claims paid, and injury severity.

Results: Compared with presimulation training, malpractice claim rates were significantly lower postsimulation training for the full study period (11.2 vs 5.7 claims per 100 physician coverage years; P<.001) and the 2 years presimulation and postsimulation training (9.2 vs 5.4 claims per 100 physician coverage years; P=.043). For the 1 year presimulation and postsimulation training comparison, the decrease in claim rates was nonsignificant (8.8 vs 5.3 claims per 100 physician coverage years; P=.162). Attending more than one simulation session was associated with a greater reduction in claim rates. Postsimulation claim rates for physicians who attended one, two, or three or more simulation sessions were 6.3, 2.1, and 1.3 claims per 100 physician coverage years, respectively (P<.001). Compared with presimulation training, there was no significant difference in the median or mean indemnity paid, percent of claims on which an indemnity payment was made, or median severity of injury after simulation training.

Conclusion: We observed a significant reduction in malpractice claim rates after simulation training. Wider use of simulation training within obstetrics and gynecology should be considered.