Practice of Medicine


Reducing the Risks of Supervision of Technicians in Dermatology

Issues relating to the supervision of technicians account for 11% of medical malpractice claims among dermatologists insured by MagMutual. With the demand for cosmetic medical procedures on the rise and patients increasingly seeking treatment in a variety of settings by non-physicians, it’s not surprising that technician supervision is a top driver of risk for physicians.

To help dermatologists reduce the occurrence of claims related to the supervision of a technician, MagMutual’s medical faculty and risk consultants have analyzed our claims data, determined the main causes of claims related to this issue and developed strategies to improve patient outcomes.

Top Risks

The main causes of claims related to supervision of technician are:

  • Failure to appropriately supervise an aesthetician
  • Improper technique
  • Failure to document procedure details 

            Top Strategies for Reduction

            Based on these top risk drivers, implementing the following clinical and operational strategies can help you prevent unexpected outcomes and increase defensibility of a medical malpractice claim:

            Clinical strategies

            • Aesthetic procedures should only be performed by qualified and trained individuals. This may include physicians, nurse practitioners or other medical professionals who have received specific training in aesthetic procedures and is compliant with state medical board regulations.
            • Laser manuals or booklets may not always have the optimal settings for each patient. Therefore, technicians should consider working with a physician to select a patient’s personalized settings, taking into account their skin type, quality of the skin, anatomical location of the procedure and other factors that may impact the procedure's outcome. By collaborating with a physician to execute the best treatment plan possible, technicians can minimize the risk of complications and improve patient satisfaction.
            • Ensure compliance with state law regarding physician supervision of aesthetic procedures. If direct supervision is not required, regularly monitor performance and address any concerns or issues promptly.
            • Educate patients on the risks and benefits of the procedure, as well as the qualified individuals who will be performing the procedure. Consider providing patients with written materials that explain the risks and benefits, and ask about any questions they may have.

            Operational strategies

            • Procedural documentation should include the type of procedure and the individual performing the procedure, details about the techniques used and challenges or deviations from the usual technique, patient response and any post-procedure instructions.

                Other Top Risks

                Although the supervision of technicians is associated with a significant number of claims among dermatologists according to our data, we’ve identified several other drivers of loss based on claims frequency:

                Risk Drivers by Top Cause
                Key Loss DriverTop Clinical Loss CauseTop Non-Clinical Contributing Factor% of Claims
                (A)Aesthetic dissatisfactionProceduralDocumentation25%
                (B) Medication errorTreatmentDocumentation15%
                (C) Supervision of technicianProceduralOther; failure to follow protocol11%
                (D) CancerDiagnosticDocumentation11%
                (E) Laser burnProceduralDocumentation8%
                Risk Drivers by Frequency


                Download the full report with indemnity payment information and strategies for all the key loss drivers to help you reduce risk in the top areas that claims occur.

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                Data Collection & Methodology

                Data is based on MagMutual closed claims from 2011-2021 and corresponding exposure data. Clinical and non-clinical loss drivers are based on an in-depth review of each claim by a medical professional or clinical risk consultant. Risk reduction strategies are based on input from practicing physicians.


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                The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.