Nontechnical skills such as clinical and communication skills are mostly overlooked or not readily retrievable from medical records.

Researchers analyzed malpractice claims from CRICO Strategies Comparative Benchmarking System (CBS) to determine the association of technical and nontechnical skills of endoscopists with indemnity payments to patients after endoscopic perforations.

CBS is a database of more than 450,000 medical professional liability (MPL) claims drawn from more than 550 academic and community medical centers, and is estimated to contain 30% of all medical malpractice claims in the United States. 

The researchers observed that inadequate communication and clinical judgment were associated with indemnity payment, independent of the severity of the clinical outcomes. However, when cases alleged poor technical skills with out communication breakdown or clinical judgment issues, favorable outcomes were associated for the physician defendant.

The study published in the peer-review journal, The American Journal of Gastroenterology.