7 Secrets to Avoid a Med Mal Claim
What are seven simple, tangible things you can do to avoid using your doctor liability coverage? Here they are, in no order:
1. Establish good policies –literally -–and make sure that everyone in your office follows them. This includes having a policies and procedures manual. MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com offers a free Office Policies and Procedures Manual to our clients. Use this manual as a starting point for your practice and customize it to fit your needs. If you already have a policy manual, make sure to have an annual review of it and ask your staff for input and/or new issues that need to be addressed in it.
2. Educate your employees and encourage best practices. This goes without saying, but sometimes physicians can assume that colleagues or other staff were trained the same way they were or that they know the “right” way to do something. Don’t assume anything. You don’t want to use your doctor liability coverage.
3. Take patient satisfaction seriously. Having a good bedside manner can go a long way towards avoiding having to use one’s physician liability insurance. For example, ask patients, “Have I answered all of your questions?” before the end of a visit. Also, make sure your support staff has good manners as well. And, if you’d like to take patient satisfaction one step further, we suggest actually asking your patients if they were satisfied with their visit by surveying them. Again, MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com has a tool to help you. Use our free Patient Satisfaction Survey System for Medical Practices .
4. Get your data protected properly. First, we suggest that physicians don’t mix their work and personal portable devices. Second, make sure that all work devices and computers that can have patient information on them are protected well.
5. Don’t let things go. This includes following up with patients by reviewing and giving test results promptly, helping patients make follow-up appointments before they leave the office, etc.
6. Don’t be distracted by portable data devices –be it your phone or iPad, etc. All it takes is one text to cause you to forget to enter important data, forget to ask a question, and have to use your doctor liability coverage.
7. Related to number six above, practice safety. Check dosing, follow check-lists (or establish them) and follow best practices.
Finally, even if an error happens, despite all of the above, have excellent doctor liability coverage. Know your coverage and feel comfortable with your agent.