Malpractice cases against doctors and other healthcare professionals are no longer simply based on medical treatment errors. They have evolved to focus on how a patient feels they were treated by a provider or a health care facility. This is not unreasonable in the slightest – patients deserve to be treated with care, respect, and attention and should be receiving nothing but the highest standards of medical care from their doctors. When things go wrong – and they frequently do – they rightfully turn to a medical malpractice attorney. Of course, it is in everyone’s best interests to avoid this situation altogether, so here, we share some top tips to follow to avoid a malpractice lawsuit.
Establish a good relationship with your patients
It is your role as a healthcare provider to make your patients feel at ease. Respect and compassion go a long way in assisting patients in being open about their general health, specific problems, and feelings about treatments that may be required.
Positive patient-caregiver interactions require open and honest communication that is based on love and respect. It also allows you to get to know your patients better and ensures that their family members comprehend the care and procedures. It all adds up to gaining your patients’ trust. And if you have a patient’s trust, they are less inclined to blame you if something goes wrong.
Be consistent and clear
It is critical to communicate properly and on the patient’s level, as well as be compassionate. The majority of your patients will not understand the technical medical vocabulary you use when speaking with colleagues. They will understand common phrases better if they are explained simply. Illustrations can help a patient visualize their diagnosis or demonstrate how a drug or treatment can improve a condition. Consistency in your care is also essential.
Ensure you have informed consent
It is critical to obtain informed permission from your patients before engaging in a conversation about their health and the care they will receive. Informed consent indicates that you addressed the benefits and dangers of the care you would offer to the patient and gave them the opportunity to explore alternatives. Most health care facilities gain their patients’ informed permission through a signed agreement that is completed along with registration documentation. It is a basic task, but it is one that can help you protect yourself in a malpractice lawsuit.
Making and keeping proper records and documentation of patient encounters is critical to the success of a practice. If you do find yourself faced with a malpractice lawsuit, this can make all the difference. Accurate documentation, complete with up-to-date charts and records, with every specific detail included, protects both you and your patient.
We have already discussed the importance of developing positive relationships with your patients. As vital as those relationships are, they do not outweigh the significance of adhering to correct protocol and practice. Policies are established for a reason, and they must be followed in order to give the best possible treatment. This has to be the case each and every time you see a patient. And, once again, consistency in your procedures is critical. The tiniest transgression against a specified policy or process might have disastrous consequences—both in terms of the patient’s treatment outcome and, potentially, a subsequent malpractice claim.