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Liability Risks in Interdisciplinary Care: Thinking Outside the Box

The Conference Board of Canada, 64 pages, April 10, 2007
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This report analyzes liability concerns raised by health professionals in the context of interdisciplinary collaborative practices and provides recommendations to support broader adoption of these models of care.

Document Highlights

There has recently been a strong emphasis on promoting collaborative, interdisciplinary health-care delivery—provincial and territorial health officials offer incentives to health professionals to move toward it, professional groups advocate its benefits, and the federal government has commissioned studies to support its implementation.

Despite the potential benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration for health professionals, patients and communities, some health professionals remain hesitant, concerned about increased liability risks and potential accountability for the negligence of their colleagues. However, a close examination of their concerns suggests that liability is not the barrier they think it is.

This report analyzes health professionals’ liability concerns in the context of interdisciplinary collaborative practices and provides recommendations to support broader adoption of these models of care. It looks at Canadian and U.S. court cases that addressed negligence in health services, literature on the topic, and the results of consultations with Canadian stakeholders. It also examines malpractice liability, patient compensation, and insurance systems in five OECD countries.