Doctors like to think that they’ll turn in colleagues who are doing a particularly bad job. But it’s not so straightforward when physicians are faced with such a colleague, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. [Catherine DesRoches et al., http://bit.ly/dsLSZB]
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed almost 2,000 physicians in a variety of fields around the country. About two-thirds said that they should and would report an impaired or incompetent colleague. Seventeen percent said they know of a physician who should be reported, and about 67 percent of that group did issue a complaint.
Minority physicians or docs in small practices were less likely to blow the whistle than hospital staff. They thought it would do no good, someone else would deal with it, or that there would be retribution.
The researchers were particularly concerned that one third of all docs surveyed didn’t think their incompetent colleagues should be reported. And that a third of physicians who actually saw someone perform poorly in fact did not say anything. The study authors urge more education on the subject, and protection and privacy for whistleblowers. All in keeping with the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]
And I'm A Bad Doctor