Medical malpractice lawsuits cost the health care industry over $55 billion each year, according to Forbes Magazine. These lawsuits are not due only to physician error and poor treatment; they have to do with a patient’s perception of mistreatment as well. How a patient perceives your treatment of them as well as miscommunication between doctor and patient are both major factors in medical malpractice lawsuits. If you want a thriving and profitable practice, you must learn how to avoid these lawsuits; start with the three tips below:
1. Establish a Good Relationship with Your Patients
Along with quality medical care, patients expect to be treated with kindness and respect. That is why they came to you. It is a part of your work as a physician to provide your patients with a comfortable environment. This can make the difficulties that come with being ill and with discussing health issues less stressful. Communicating with them and being kind helps to create a positive relationship and helps to build trust. Remind your staff to be courteous and respectful as well. When you have earned the trust of your patients, they are less likely to sue if something goes wrong.
2. Follow Up With Your Patients
If a patient misses an appointment or fails to fill their prescriptions following up can help to you find out why they are they are not complying. The reason may be something as simple as their inability to find transportation. Whatever the reason, your practice should have written protocols with regard to following up that includes documentation in the patient’s chart. Following up with patients shows them that you care about communicating with them and are willing to go the extra mile. If you have follow-up protocols in place, a lawsuit may be less likely.
3. Avoid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Issues
The reliance on EHRs is one of the major advancements in modern medicine. However, it is important that you know how to use them properly. You should note that your EHRs will play a major role during the discovery phase of a liability suit. Everything from the choice of an EHR product to the way that it is implemented can be used to undermine your defense. For example, EHR software often has a time stamp to show when you viewed test results and for how long. Take time to review patients’ test results as hurried reviews may hurt your defense. Consider using EHR products from reputable providers like AdvancedMD. They offer a range of cloud solutions for medical offices including EHR software that allows you to improve clinical accuracy and automate your workflow.
Avoiding a malpractice lawsuit has to be a priority for your practice. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of a malpractice claim, there are many things that you can do to reduce that risk. It starts with you carefully managing your doctor-patient relationships and using the right tools.