In the past, malpractice lawsuits were based solely on errors in medical treatments. This is no longer the case. Current lawsuits tend to focus on how patients feel and how well they were treated by a health care professional or care facility. Follow the below steps to help avoid being at the center of a malpractice lawsuit.
Establish good relationships.
Never underestimate how far empathy and respect can get you. Making a patient feel comfortable helps make them more forthcoming about their health issues and lets them express how comfortable they actually are with any required treatment plan.
Creating an open and honest environment also helps foster trust. When you have your patient’s trust, they are less likely to sue you if something goes wrong.
Most of your patients will not understand the medical jargon you use to communicate with your colleagues. When speaking to patients, it is important to speak clearly and use language that is on their level. This means you must use easy to understand terms; illustrations may also be helpful for a patient to visualize a diagnosis or understand how a treatment can help them.
A common phrase in the research community is “if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.” In order to prevent any future lawsuits, we recommend adopting this as your daily mantra. Proper, well-kept and up-to-date records are key when trying to fight a malpractice suit. If there is no documentation, juries are much more likely to side with the patient over the practitioner.
While training sessions and continued education courses are required to keep your medical license valid, we recommend staying current on more than just your specialty. This will ensure you can provide educated answers to patients, as they don’t limit their questions to just your area of expertise.
We get it, everyone in the medical field is over scheduled. Don’t let this prevent you from providing your patients with the best possible care. You should try to take the time to review their records prior to their visit; not only will this help refresh your memory of their previous medical issues but it is also a simple way to show you care.
It all boils down to making your patients feel like their concerns are heard and you are doing what you can to help them feel better.