Savvy patients might know they need to research their doctor's history. They may even know where to look. But what they may not realize is that the information provided on bad doctoring practices and the disciplinary actions taken against poor-performing physicians can vary greatly from one state to the next. Consumer Reports and the Informed Patient Institute – both nonprofit organizations dedicated to safety and advocacy – recently examined each state's medical board website to determine just how complete the information was on the doctors they oversee. Each site was also graded on its ease of use. The results might surprise you.
Best and Worst State Medical Board Websites
A good state medical board website will provide patients with clear information regarding whether or not a physician has a complaint pending against them. Other information – such as the nature of that complaint, information indicating a history of drug abuse, and action taken against the physician – should also be included. The site should also be easy to navigate, regardless of whether a patient is looking to file a complaint or simply searching for information about a physician's disciplinary history.
Upon review of the state medical boards, the five that were closest to meeting these criteria were California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and North Carolina. Scored out of 100, each respective board was given an overall score of 84, 79, 78, 76, and 76. The five that fell at the bottom of the scoring poll (thereby indicating that they were the furthest from being able to meet the criteria) were Wyoming (27), Montana (26), Hawaii (22), Indiana (20), and Mississippi (6).
All State Boards Need to Make Information Easier to Find
While most patients are relatively safe with their patients, some two percent of physicians account for more than half of all medical malpractice lawsuits. These doctors, who have been accused of actions that go well beyond simple human error, continue to practice medicine, despite being a danger to the patients they treat. Clearly, the boards need to be more aggressive about pulling the licenses of dangerous doctors, but if they are so unwilling to do so, patients should, at the very least, know their risks ahead of time.
Clear and consistent information about their complaints, the nature of those complaints, and a list of all disciplinary actions taken against physicians should be easy to find and easy to understand. Doctors on probation should be required to inform their patients about the disciplinary actions being taken against them, and they should have to explain why. And more consumer representatives should be on the boards to ensure that patients are effectively represented during disciplinary proceedings.
Victim of Medical Malpractice? You May Be Due Compensation
A partnership of trial lawyers, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. is dedicated to justice and advocacy for ordinary people who have been victimized by bad doctor behavior. If this has happened to you or someone you love, we can protect your rights, look out for your best interest, and provide you with aggressive representation. To get started, contact our skilled and experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys for a free initial consultation. Call us at [[phone]] today.