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Database to detail doctor records

Physician Practice Advisor, January 3, 2007

Under legislation passed by the city council, Washington, DC, doctors will soon be required to report adverse medical events to a database created by the city's medical board, according to an article in the Washington Post. Advocates of the database say it will help safeguard patients and improve care, according to the article. Doctors will have 60 days to report judgments and settlements from malpractice allegations, as well as any disciplinary actions imposed while practicing in another state.

Critics of the database are concerned about the legislation's description of an adverse event. The critics say the definition, which defines an adverse event as one "involving the medical care of a patient by a healthcare provider that results in death or an unanticipated injury to a patient," is too vague. The Washington, DC, Hospital Association withdrew an endorsement of the legislation due to the adverse reporting requirement, according to the Post article.

The database must be established by July 1, and the city's Health Department will analyze the data to identify trends, assist in corrective steps, and publish an annual summary. It is not clear whether the information will be available for public view online, according to the article.

To read the full Washington Post article, click here.