Radiologists overestimatemammo malpractice threat

April 1, 2009

The perceived threatof medical malpracticeclaims makes a biggerimpression on radiologiststhan is warrantedby the actual risk of litigation.

The perceived threat of medical malpractice claims makes a bigger impression on radiologists than is warranted by the actual risk of litigation.

Dr. John F. Dick III and colleagues at Dartmouth mailed surveys in 2006 to 118 radiologists who participated in any of three registries associated with the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium in Colorado, New Hampshire, and western Washington. They compared findings with those of a similar survey performed in 2002. Researchers found that the perceived risk of being sued is four times higher than the reported rate of malpractice claims.

In 2006, radiologists estimated that they had a 35% chance of facing a mammography- related malpractice suit in the next five years. In 2002, they rated the likelihood at 41%, but actual claim reports reached 8% in 2002 and 10% in 2006 (AJR 2009;192:327-333).