Published on March 3, 2014
Simple steps to avoid patient injury and lawsuits © CureMD Healthcare
Lawsuits • In case of a lawsuit, physician confidence and trust suffers massively • Physicians are faced with diagnostic errors, incomplete follow-up and other risks every day • However, by creating procedures and policies to protect their practices, physicians can mitigate risks of patient injuries and save themselves from unnecessary lawsuits
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Faulty communication – If patients feel their physicians have their best interests in their mind, they will be more forgiving of errors – During the last decade, medical malpractice claims have decreased significantly because more physicians are offering explanations to patients in case of an unexpected outcome – Unexpected outcomes do not generally result in lawsuits – However, unexpected outcomes combined with poor communication are often the biggest reason when patients consider lawsuits
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Lack of informed consent – It is critical to take patient consent before a procedure is performed. – Patients must have full understanding of the associated risks. – All risks must be clearly communicated to the patient in writing before the procedure, and not afterwards – Preferably, you should get patient signatures on consents developed by a professional attorney
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Failure to stay up-to-date on standards – Physicians must stay up-to-date on best practices and the industry standards – They must be aware of any changes in disease management for chronic conditions, technological innovations, latest researches and government mandates – Physicians must make sure that they are educated on EHRs and have received adequate training on the systems they use – They must understand using templates, clinical decision support systems and electronic prescribing
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Inadequate follow-ups – Inadequate follow-up of diagnostic test results and specialist referrals are one of the most frequent reasons for litigations – Physicians should also follow-up with specialists when referring patients – They must have a reminder when to expect the specialist report – In case the report is not received on time, the referring physician should alert the patient and the referring provider in addition to making a note in the patient’s medical record
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Variation in policies and procedures – Practice policies and procedures should be available to all the staff members – They must be kept in a format that is easy to access and must be reviewed periodically to ensure it is reflective of changing preferences and requirements – Policies should enlist set of rules for ordering new prescriptions or refills – Rules to deal with cancellations and no-shows should also be part of the policies
Risks that physicians need to mitigate • Avoidance behavior – Physicians must understand that avoiding a patient in case something goes wrong is never useful. – Putting oneself in patient’s shoes and their families would really help a physician sympathize. – Physicians should not be afraid to face them and let them know how they feel. – Risk management is an on-going process and as new technology emerges, risks will continue to evolve as well. Practices and physicians need to constantly reassess quality and safety to keep themselves guarded
Read more on blog.curemd.com • To read more on this topic, visit: • http://blog.curemd.com/simple-steps-to-avoidpatient-injury-and-lawsuits/
Thank you! CureMD Healthcare 55 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004 Ph: 212.509.6200 www.curemd.com
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