Healthcare disputes have become more common in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Dispute Options

When negotiation and/or mediation fail, there are 2 options to resolve healthcare disputes:

  1. Court; or
  2. Arbitration.

The Preference for Arbitration in Healthcare Services

Patients, doctors, nurses, hospitals, private health care facilities and other healthcare industry participants favour arbitration over the traditional legal system because of the flexibility and confidentiality that it offers.

Bringing a dispute to court means that sensitive and confidential information will be disclosed in public. Furthermore, the parties involved in an arbitration are able to choose an arbitrator that has the medical background and experience to solve their dispute.

The timeline and cost are also factors to consider. As of 2007, the Toronto Star was reporting that a 3-day trial was likely to cost you $60,000.00. Please click here for the article. A typical arbitration can range from $2,000.00 per party to $4,000.00 per party depending on the size of the case, and a final decision can be presented in 2 – 4 weeks time. This is significantly less burdensome than a 3-day trial price tag, and the years of time you might have to wait until your trial takes place.

Arbitration sustains cordial relationships between the healthcare provider and patient, while allowing them both to come to a conclusion on their dispute. Going to court is a more adversarial approach to problem solving, and arbitration acknowledges that the parties have a dispute that they want to resolve.

Healthcare arbitration allows both the patient and healthcare practitioner to continue their relationship after the dispute is solved, without polarizing it in litigation.

Patients may also see arbitration as a better forum to ask their medical practitioner why something happened, or even receive an apology which does not affect the outcome of the arbitration. For more information on apologies and arbitration, click here.