The majority of medical malpractice insurance carriers see their risk management as an investment in themselves and the physicians that they insure. As I have attended many of these seminars or at least reviewed the course material, common themes in today’s risk management programs are oriented with a curriculum of communication, documentation and prevention. The completion of these courses can lead to a percentage discount of your medical malpractice insurance premium and/or continuing medical education credits in exchange for a few hours on the computer.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies Offer CME Courses to Help with Risk Management
In order to renew a medical license for the continuing practice of medicine, physicians and surgeons are required to complete CME (Continuing Medical Education) courses. These courses are often available through the company or carrier providing the medical liability insurance coverage. Most medical malpractice insurance companies offer these courses online, as local seminars or some companies offer CME courses through books with a small questionnaire/test at the end. It is a good idea to take at least one course per year on risk management to help prevent a medical malpractice insurance claim from being a part of your medical practice.
Properly Protecting your Medical Practice & Preventing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Physicians and surgeons need to be aware of certain areas of risk management to help protect their medical practice. Properly documenting patient medical records is a common part of proper risk management. When receiving a malpractice claim it is very important that no changes are made to the patient’s medical records. Making changes to a patient’s medical records could cause serious damage to your defense when your medical malpractice insurance carrier is defending your claim. Another important area of focus for risk management is the communication and protocols within your medical practice. Medical assistants, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and all staff need to know exactly what their roles are within the practice so that important medical conditions and diagnosis do not slip through the cracks.
One of the most important aspects of risk management is the availability of legal advice when a physician or surgeon feels they have had a bad outcome with a patient. Bad outcomes may be anything from a misdiagnosis, to a patient whom is very upset with the outcome. Doctors must be careful and should consult immediately with their medical malpractice insurance companies risk management department, if such a situation should arise. The risk management team will be able to guide you on how to communicate with the patient in an effort to prevent a medical malpractice insurance claim.
The Use of Electronic Medical Records Helps with Risk Management
While the pressures of survival in today’s medical climate are greatly affected by your ability to see a large volume of patients, one of the key factors in avoiding an unhappy patient, which could possibly lead to a medical malpractice insurance claim, is spending a few more moments communicating with the patient during their office visits. With the advent of electronic medical records (EMR), providers are able to document their patient encounters and communications more efficiently. I have had many medical malpractice insurance defense attorneys tell me that cases were lost on their inability to prove that clear communication and recommendations were made between the patient and the doctor. A common problem with a medical malpractice insurance claim is the result of physicians and/or medical providers failing to communicate properly when important information is obtained or included in the a patients chart. Electronic medical records have helped tremendously as there are all kinds of alerts, checks and balances to make sure nothing important has been missed.
When looking for a medical malpractice insurance broker or considering your renewal offer from your current carrier, take the time to explore their risk management offerings. The curriculum is relevant to today’s medical practice and the reduced cost to your overhead is always a positive.