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6 Tips to Avoid Medical Malpractice Claims

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Did you know that most medical malpractice claims stem from completely preventable circumstances? They’re usually not as a result of a serious surgical error of a dramatic mistake. It’s the simple things that cause the most damage. With a medical malpractice bill of over $55 billion annually in the US only, it’s clear to see why you need to take measures to avoid malpractice claims. Here are some tips on how to reduce medical malpractice.

  1. Communication
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There’s nothing more important than communicating clearly and effectively with your patients. It doesn’t matter how talented you are and what credentials you hold, both you and the patient should be on the same page regarding their treatment options and risks associated with each. Be friendly and courteous and ask the right questions. Building the right kind of relationships with your patients is one of the best strategies of avoiding malpractice claims.

  1. Have Everything in Writing
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Having great communication skills is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to have proper documentation. Great documentation skills can come in handy when you need to recount exactly what happened at a certain time. The records also help defend your actions and decisions. Failure to have proper documentation leaves you prone to malpractice claims. Make sure to write legibly, include date, and time, sign all documents, identify people in your reports, record findings and instructions, and document even the things you don’t think are important.

  1. Manage Expectations
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Manage your patients’ expectations. Present an accurate position and be forthright during discussions about the diagnosis and the next course of action. Explain all the possible outcomes and their implications so that the patient can make an informed decision. Make a habit of under-promising and over-delivering when managing expectations. Brutal honesty is the best policy. You’d rather the patient chose not to work with you than have to deal with a malpractice claim.

  1. Know the Law
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You need to know the law and abide by it. Medical malpractice laws vary from one state to the other. There are even situations where the rules change from hospital to hospital. The laws are revised at different times in different jurisdictions. Make time to study the law and stay up to date to avoid getting caught unawares. Hiring malpractice lawyers can help you stay up to date with the laws in your area and come up with policies that protect you from claims.

  1. Obtain Informed Consent
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Never operate on a patient without getting informed consent from them or a guardian. Discuss the risks, implications, and cost of the procedure well in advance. While this may seem obvious, its actually a common reason for malpractice claims.

  1. Follow up
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Make a point of following up with your patients to get feedback. Find out if the patient is seeing other specialists and follow up with them too. This allows you to stay updated on the patient’s progress and helps cover all base with regard to your patient’s treatment.

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