The Doctors Company—the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer—and UC San Francisco (UCSF), today launched a new partnership at the intersection of digital medicine and patient safety. The Doctors Company’s commitment to advancing the practice of good medicine will be expanded through a $1 million collaboration that will enable leading UCSF researchers in evidence-based patient safety practices, safety, and information technology–related policy, and artificial intelligence (AI) to pursue cutting-edge questions.
New Patient Safety Challenges in the Digital Health Era
Widespread digitization of the healthcare system over the past decade—including electronic health records (EHRs), apps, and sensors—offer new ways to study and address traditional patient safety challenges such as diagnostic and medication errors. There also are new challenges that stem directly from these emerging digital capabilities, including how to integrate AI tools into front-line care, mitigate alert fatigue, share data with patients, preserve the physician-patient relationship with the increasing use of technology in the exam room and asynchronous communication tools, avoid physician burnout related to suboptimal EHR usability and performance, and ensure cybersecurity.
Collaboration Benefits & Research Team
The Doctors Company–UCSF collaboration will maximize the strengths of both organizations to make substantive advances in patient safety and digital health through novel research and engagement, with the goal of safer care. According to Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman, and chief executive officer of The Doctors Company, ”We are proud to partner with a world-class institution like UCSF in a mission-based collaboration that has the power to improve medical outcomes in the transformative sphere of digital healthcare.”
The UCSF team is led by two accomplished researchers—Julia Adler-Milstein, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, and Urmimala Sarkar, MD, associate professor of medicine, who bring complementary expertise to the partnership. According to Dr. Adler-Milstein, “The primary goal of the partnership is to discover and disseminate new insights into risk mitigation strategies and patient safety by connecting top-tier UCSF researchers and unique resources and expertise from The Doctors Company. It is a rare and exciting opportunity to have two such organizations come together to jointly advance such an important area.”
Dr. Sarkar is specifically excited about “the valuable opportunity to learn more about errors in diagnosis for outpatient physicians across a range of practice settings, and to find creative ways to improve medical practice.” Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine and a member of The Doctors Company’s Board of Governors, has championed this collaboration. “The Doctors Company insures 82,000 physicians in the U.S. and has a rare window into the causes of medical errors and strategies to mitigate them. By leveraging UCSF’s world-class research community, we believe that we can develop new insights into safety hazards and strategies to keep patients safe.”