Malpractice Risks in Communication Failures

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Report Highlights

  • Nearly half of all cases with communication issues occur in the ambulatory setting
  • 44% of claims with a communication issue result in a clinical outcome of serious harm or death
  • Cases triggered by provider-provider communication failures are significantly more likely to result in a payment than cases with provider-patient communication issues.

For more in-depth information about what drives communication-related claims in general medicine, obstetrics, nursing, and surgery, download the full report, Malpractice Risks in Communication Failures.

Download the Report:

The 2015 Candello Report looks at 7,149 cases in which facts, figures, or findings got lost between the individuals who had that information and those who needed it—across the spectrum of health care services and settings. With a special focus on General Medicine, Obstetrics, Nursing, and Surgery, this report shines light on the who, what, when, and where of miscommunication. Consequently, the data and case examples identify specific opportunities to improve skills and systems to bridge those knowledge gaps and keep everyone involved in a patient’s care promptly and fully informed.


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Communication errors may involve face-to-care conversations, electronic exchanges, or clinical notation and interpretation via the patient's medical record. For this Report, breakdowns in documentation timing, accuracy, and legibility were also included, as were systems failures in sharing information (e.g., test results and referral findings) and instructions among providers, patients, and family members.


A patient who experiences an unfortunate medical result—whether due to negligence or not—needs to know that the clinicians still care. That's when you need to communicate more, not less. And, keep in touch—even if it takes a year of checking in with an injured patient, he or she will appreciate that.”

—Elizabeth Cushing, CRICO, Vice President, Claims


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