On the verge of so many new patients being added to the U.S. healthcare system, it’s becoming more necessary to have a program for malpractice claim prevention. 16 million new patients will be added to the U.S. healthcare system in the coming three years, some of whom may be receiving care for the first time and are unfamiliar with how practices operate. If a doctor is seeking ways to prevent med mal claims, having a strategy when it comes to successful malpractice claim prevention is imperative.
Doctors constantly tell their patients to prevent medical issues before they become a problem. Eat right, exercise, get regular check-ups, take medication, get shots, go to the proper specialists, and stay active. Much like these preventative measures keep patients healthy, the same can be said about measures to avoid malpractice. It’s best to be prepared and have a plan, rather than wait for the worst to happen. Much like a healthy patient produces a happier life, a healthy prevention process produces happier patients, and a happier medical office environment, with less claims.
Analysts in the medical malpractice insurance world say that, even with recent strides made in ensuring proper inpatient and outpatient procedures, the costs of cases will continue to rise. And those hoping for tort reform to save them from increasingly higher costs should brace themselves. According to Towers Watson, since 1975 (when the tracking was initiated), medical malpractice costs have increased 10 percent every year, outpacing all other forms of insurance, which had tort costs grow about 7.5 percent annually.
So with increased costs and 16 million more patients coming into the system, it’s critical to understand how to prevent claims from occurring in the first place. Here are some simple strategies to help you keep med mal claims down:
- Keep the patient involved and knowledgeable. Unless it’s an emergency, patients have the ultimate say on what to do to their bodies. Let them know every possible option and all likely outcomes. The more patients know, the more capable they are of making smart, informed decisions.
- Be clear. Every step of every process must be clear, so that patients fully understand the risks involved with each decision. Make sure that they are informed, beyond what medical websites tell them. Spell out risks, possible outcomes, and potential costs for procedures and medications. Because patients are like anybody else: unexpected costs draw their ire.
- Document, document, document. The major change with national healthcare is that all documentation must have a digital footprint. Digital documentation makes the transfer of information faster than ever, particularly to plaintiffs lawyers. The more precise, clear, and robust a doctor is in a description, the less likelihood for an erroneous claim.
- Keep your staff informed. Nurses, physicians assistants, techs, and everyone involved with the administration of health care must be aware of the potential pitfalls should a mistake be made. When they are at fault, physicians, and their practices, receive med mal claims.
- Have a third party, with medical experience, in the room. Nurses and physician assistants must be ready to properly document exactly what is occurring during procedures. When a case becomes patient-said/physician-said, a third party can clear up any misconceptions.
Capson Physicians Insurance Co. understands the need to be properly prepared to prevent a claim. That’s why the medical malpractice insurance company is rolling out new ways of looking at how to deliver great service for physicians to help reduce claims. Voice of the Patient™ provides instant patient-feedback tools to help doctors understant their patients’ needs better, and Stat Response to Claims™ deploys a seasoned med mal attorney on the claim immediately.
Get a quote today, at www.capson.com. If you have questions about Capson coverage or our approach, need help with a current policy, or simply want to talk with a Capson Advisor – we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at (888)209-4759, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
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