Aggressive risk mitigation is a powerful tool versus medical malpractice suits. T these business practices are not only legally protective, they’ll likely support better medical outcomes.
Mindful preparation for the possibility of a legal contest will go a long way to producing positive results. These are the business angles to focus on:
- Have excellent malpractice insurance: This isn’t the time to save money. Get an excellent plan, and look for insurance that has useful risk management tools.
- Hone your bedside manner: You’re taking care of people; you’re not selling widgets. If a physician has been consistently responsive, patients are less likely to see an attorney if confronted with a negative outcome.
- Keep those lines of communication open: Questions must be answered. Patients shouldn’t be insulted or undermined in any way if they’ve done their own research.
Further, take extra care that you’ve been understood. This is done with closed loop communication. A communication is repeated to ensure it’s been received. For instance, a physician might follow-up a discussion with a patient by asking, “OK. So, what are our next steps?”
- Strenuously support informed consent: Make sure the patient understands the limitations of treatment.
- Comprehensively maintain the electronic health record: This should include standard procedure note taking, as well as any issues with patient’s noncompliance with medical advisement.
- If a lawsuit is filed, take a deep breath: Do not under this pressure make false moves like altering a patient’s record or adding to it. That’s a misstep that could hurt your position.
- Consult with an attorney ASAP: This is an urgency, even an emergency. A speedy response inures to your benefit. You’ll be in a better position to assist counsel in your defense.
- Prepare thoroughly for the deposition or pretrial statement: Every case has its complexities and all the angles matter. You must do your part the same way you’d advise patients to do their part in their medical battles.
These principles hold true in New York and other states.