Doctors Need Help Too: 6 Things You Can Do to Prevent Malpractice Claims

As a doctor or healthcare practitioner, you always have plenty of work on your plate. Between caring for patients and running your practice, it can be difficult to keep up with the legal aspects of your business. Even so, it’s important to understand the potential mistakes that could lead you to face a medical malpractice lawsuit. Keep these tips in mind to avoid liability and keep your patients happy.

1) Practice effective communication.

As someone with years of medical training, your understanding of medical concepts, terms, and procedures may feel like second nature. It’s not so simple for your patients. If you can learn to explain their healthcare concerns in layman’s terms—without leaving out any essential details—you’ll have gained a valuable skill that can help you avoid legal disputes.

2) Establish good relationships.

Your ability to communicate with patients will rely heavily on your relationship with them. Are you courteous and patient with them? Do you listen to their questions and concerns? A healthy doctor-patient relationship will help establish trust and avoid the feeling of uncertainty that can often lead a patient to feel neglected.

3) Be thorough before, during, and after appointments.

Your relationship with your patient isn’t confined to the time you spend on one appointment. It’s important to review charts before the appointment, noting any important details, and follow up after any missed tests or appointments. Sticking to protocol will help you in either situation.

4) Set higher standards.

Consistent protocols and procedures are key to making your practice run smoothly. Set a high bar with clear, stringent policies when it comes to things like prescriptions, cancellations, complaints, security, and the storage of your medical information. You’ll also want to stay aware of new developments in your specialty areas to make sure your own practices are up-to-date.

5) Understand informed consent.

Many malpractice claims arise because the patient did not legally consent to a treatment or procedure. Your patient should be fully informed of the possible risks and side effects of a specific procedure, in addition to its purpose and benefits. Make sure you get your patient’s informed, written consent whenever it’s necessary.

6) Keep complete records and documents.

Thorough documentation is always essential to a malpractice lawsuit. If litigation does rear its head, your medical records and charts can serve as evidence to back up your claims. Your practice should always keep accurate, specific, and up-to-date records of every single visit.

If a medical malpractice lawsuit does find its way to your practice, there is one thing you should do as soon as possible: contact a reputable litigation attorney. BRADFORD, LTD has represented hundreds of cases at trial, many of them involving healthcare practitioners and physicians. Give us a call and we’ll discuss your needs, analyze your options, and provide you with a winning strategy. Our attorneys look forward to fighting by your side.

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