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European Journal of Dermatology

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Dermatology and medical law: the effect of legal issues on the treatment of patients in dermatological practices in southern Germany Volume 32, issue 4, 2022-07-01

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Authors
1 Technical University of Munich, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Munich, Germany
2 Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry, and Epidemiology, Munich, Germany
3 Institute for Mental Health Studies (ISPG), Mannheim, Germany
4 Winkhaus Vogel Tröster Lawyer Partnership, Munich, Germany
5 Psoriasis-Praxisnetz Süd-West e.V., Maxdorf, Germany
Reprints: MC Schielein

Background

Usage of modern therapies in the treatment of chronic dermatological diseases has proven to be effective but associated with high costs. High therapy costs might raise legal issues and even lead to recourse claims.

Objectives

To evaluate dermatologists’ interests and knowledge in medical law and the occurrence of recourse claims, and to assess the impact of medical law on clinical practice.

Materials & Methods

Dermatologists of the “Psoriasis-Praxisnetz Süd-West e.V.” participated in a web-based questionnaire study investigating the relationship between medical law and usage of modern therapies. The questionnaire was separated in two sub-polls carried out from 11/2016 to 12/2016 and 02/2017 to 03/2017, respectively. The first addressed general topics of medical law and the second specific legal topics, particularly recourse claims.

Results

Overall, 76 dermatologists participated in the first and 66 in the second sub-poll. In the first sub-poll, 27.6% of participants attended a seminar on medical law within the last 12 months. Furthermore, 28.8% of the participants of the second sub-poll already experienced a previous recourse claim, and 26.3% of those stated feeling confident or rather confident on legal topics. This proportion was lower among those who had not experienced a recourse claim (17.0%). Overall, 73.7% of those who had a previous recourse claim changed their prescription behaviour as a direct consequence thereof.

Conclusion

The study demonstrates a close relationship between medical law issues and the prescription behaviour of dermatologists working in private practices in southern Germany. Regular legal education would thus be beneficial for patient-centred care