Simple Ways to Avoid Malpractice Claims

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Reduce your risk of a malpractice lawsuit every day with these simple tips.

Approximately $5,000 a minute is spent on medical malpractice in the United States alone, with costs reaching nearly $3 Billion in 2012. Process this for a minute; by age 45, 36% of physicians in low-risk specialities and 88% in high-risk specialities are likely to have filed at least one malpractice claim against them. More so, by age 65 those numbers change to 75% and 99% respectively. Let that sink in. The average indemnity payment for a malpractice claim was $274,887. Here are the measures we advocate to help you avoid putting yourself at unnecessary risk of a malpractice lawsuit.

1. Communicate. There is nothing more important than a healthy, communication-filled, doctor-patient relationship. Communication-related errors are the number one malpractice claim and they can be avoided!

2. Use writing to your advantage. Documentation is an extremely important habit to help avoid medical malpractice. Inadequate or unambiguous documentation puts you at risk of being unable to prove your case.

3. Stay up-to-date. Understand what the law is and stay up with it. Keeping on top of changes and revisions in law will help you by leaps and bounds to stay out of a law suit.

4. Informed consent. Without it, you are asking for a lawsuit. Make sure the patient is aware and accepting of the risks, costs, and other effective processes of their procedures and treatments. This may seem obvious and elementary, but you’d be surprised to hear that this is still a common problem!

5. Follow up. Talk to your patients through different avenues to make sure to hear them out. Set protocols so that your patients are giving their feedback, and make sure to document!

6. Managing expectations. This piece is essential. Be accurate in your descriptions, make sure the client is aware of what to expect. Don’t over promise only to under deliver. Setting inflated expectations can result in very unhappy patients, and exposure to claims.

7. Use your client’s perspective. Don’t put your patient through anything that would necessarily irritate them. Put yourself in their shoes. Would it irritate you as well? Then, do something about it. Going out of your way to accommodate your patient’s feelings and needs holds weight in forming positive and beneficial doctor-patient relationships.

8. Keep an open mind. Don’t fall trapped to first impressions and don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Staying flexible will help you maneuver around rocky waters.

9. Swallow your pride. Do you need to ask for help? Do you ask for help when you need to? Knowing every symptom of every problem is unrealistic, sometimes the best solution is asking for assistance. Don’t let stubbornness lead to malpractice.

10. Break bad habits before they form. Deficiencies in operations are common; such as, lack of funding or understaffing. But don’t let these obstacles impact your professionalism.

 

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