Medical Risk Management
Medical risk management starts with the first minute you see the patient for the first time.
Be professional at all times and practice good bedside manner. Don’t ever argue with patients about anything. You can advise them but not argue with them. They ultimately can decide for themselves whether they are going to follow your recommendations. Respect their decisions, and don’t belittle them. Be concerned for their welfare. Always be your patient’s advocate except in the rarest of circumstances. Answer their questions. Return their phone calls. Communicate effectively.
The absolute best way to avoid malpractice risk is to develop the best professional relationship with your patient that you can from day one. If you have done this, your patient is much less likely to become seriously angry with you for a rare transgression.
Basically, if you take care of your patients as outlined and discussed on this site, your medical-legal risks will be greatly reduced, your patient encounters will be much more enjoyable and relaxed, and you won’t have to worry about being sued for the most part.
If, on the other hand, your relationship has been tense, if you have frequently been abrupt with the patient, if you haven’t taken the time to communicate well, etc., then the risks are much higher.
If you work in an office setting, develop a medical risk management plan. Evaluate your office policies and procedures. Evaluate how you and your employees interact with patients. Are there a lot of patient complaints about how they are treated in the office? Try to be proactive in taking steps to eliminate or mitigate legal risk before an incident happens.
As you see and follow patients in the office, be alert to signs of discontentment. If the patient complains frequently about your office or about the care that they have received from you or from the staff, and if there is not much you can do to improve that patient’s experience, then it may actually be prudent to encourage the person to move on to another office or physician where he or she may be more comfortable.
The Essentials of Risk Management (Sponsored link)
This page was last updated on October 10, 2010.