1.5 percent of doctors, a quarter of malpratice reports

May 14, 2013

(This article was first published on Decision Science News » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)



A month ago, we reported on a paper looking at complaints against doctors which found that 3% of doctors receive about half of the complaints.

This prompted our friend Jim, who is a lawyer, and a good one, to email, “you want to look at real complaints, check this out, it’s got lawsuits against doctors. So we did. This turned out to be the National Practitioner Data Bank, a publicly available database of complaints among doctors and other professions.

We did the same analysis as in the paper cited last month, except that now we looked at malpractice reports filed against doctors in the United States. The result, shown in the graph above, is that malpractice reports are quite skewed as well. (See last month’s post for some useful annotations that may help reading the graph). Our takeaway is for malpractice reports:

1.5% of doctors receive 24% of malpractice reports
3.2% of doctors receive 37% of malpractice reports
7.8% of doctors receive 61% of malpractice reports
22.2% of doctors receive 100% of malpractice reports (i.e. 78% of docs receive none)

This was kind of a quick and dirty analysis, so no guarantees this is correct. If you’re interested in the data, drop us a line.

Powerlaw fans (and there are so, so many out there) may want to know that the data plot out thusly on a log-log scale:


Plots were made using the R language for statistical computing and Hadley Wickham‘s ggplot2 package.

The post 1.5 percent of doctors, a quarter of malpratice reports appeared first on Decision Science News.

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