To avoid the risk of a malpractice suit being filed against them, doctors should observe a few risk management tips aimed at supporting physicians and facilities in their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of patient care and also reduce any liability exposures in the practice of medicine. It is also vital to maintain proper amounts of doctors malpractice insurance to aid with any defense costs.
Maintaining patient confidentiality is essential risk avoidance
Office staff should be made aware that routine office practices, such as discussing patient information out in the open could breach patient confidentiality. Educating staff about the need to maintain patient confidentiality and to never discuss patients outside the office can reduce risks of litigation.
Track patient test results thoroughly
To ensure that patients receive the necessary testing, follow-up procedures are very important. Make sure that results are returned to the office promptly and properly reviewed. Patients should be made aware of the facts concerning the need for any testing, and doctors should document any conversations.
Patient injuries and malpractice claims can result from many known risks
Patients are sometimes susceptible to side effects, allergic reactions, drug interactions or errors in prescribing. Because there are significant risks and side effects associated with many prescribed drugs, physicians must discuss this information with their patients and, again, document these discussions in their medical records. Keeping accurate medical documentation reflects excellence in medical care.
Documentation is the best defense against malpractice allegations
While physicians are viewed as dispensers of advice and patients generally follow their advice, the credit, or burden, for clinical outcomes goes to the physician. Of course it’s impossible for physicians to guarantee a particular outcome, and naturally patients possess the most control over their own behaviors and choices that can and often will affect their health.
Making a patient aware of any likely clinical outcomes from suggested procedures, and including the patient in the decision-making process are steps that one can take in preventing malpractice allegations. But effective documentation can help to derail erroneous or false charges, and hopefully exculpate the wrongly accused.
Physicians typically approach documentation with the goal of communicating effectively with their staff. But when malpractice allegations are made, a plaintiff