Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Analysis of medical malpractice claims to improve quality of care: Cautionary remarks

Early View

Abstract Medical malpractice claims can be analysed to gain insights aimed at improving quality of care. However, using medical malpractice claims in medical research raises epistemological and methodological concerns related to certain features of the litigation process. Medical research should therefore approach medical malpractice claims with caution. Taking one recent study as a an example, this article insists on three areas of concern: (a) the quantity of legal materials available for analysis; (b) the content of the legal materials available for analysis; and (c) the ways in which the content of the legal materials should be analysed and the types of inferences that it can support. The article concludes with general recommendations for future medical research that would incorporate medical malpractice claims. These recommendations centre around recognizing the qualitative dimension of legal reasoning.

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