Opioid-Related Claims Data Underscore Significance & Impact of Epidemic

Coverys data finds over half of all opioid-related events involve high-severity injury, death

Boston, MA - November 12, 2019 - Coverys, a leading provider of medical professional liability insurance, today released its latest Red Signal ReportSM on opioids. The report analyzes five years of closed opioid-related malpractice claims to identify the major risk factors, warning signs, and safety vulnerabilities within the pain management process. Additionally, it addresses evidence-based risk recommendations and practice changes offered to improve patient safety and reduce malpractice exposure to opioid-prescribing clinicians.
 
A dramatic increase in opioid use over the past several decades has led to an epidemic of addiction and high-severity injuries. This growing tragedy is taking thousands of lives each year and is impacting patients, family members, and clinicians. This latest report focuses on the specific steps that relate to active pain management and associated risks that can contribute to opioid dependence and persistent use.
 
Key findings and recommendations from the Opioid Red Signal ReportSM include:
 
  • 51% of events involved a high-severity patient injury and accounted for 85% of indemnity paid.
  • 43% of events had root-cause factors related to medication screening and prescribing.
  • 25% of events had root-cause factors related to monitoring and management.
  • 23% of events had root-cause factors related to dispensing and administering.
 
Strategies are included in the report, which is available to view on the Coverys website here.
 
This is the third report in Coverys’ ongoing Red Signal ReportSM series. The series is designed to identify the major risk factors, claims warning signals, and safety vulnerabilities within specific specialties and clinical areas where education and practice change initiatives can improve patient safety, reduce malpractice exposures, and increase reimbursements for providers.
 
The report is co-authored by Ann Burke, senior director, risk management; Sharon Gilmore, senior risk specialist; Ann Lambrecht, senior risk specialist; Maryann Small, director of data governance & business analytics; and Anthony Zheng, data analyst.