As the first medical professional liability insurer to establish a patient safety department, The Doctors Company remains the leader in developing innovative tools that can help you reduce risk and keep your patients safe.
Patients who seem agitated or display behaviors such as pacing, folded arms, or a negative attitude should be removed from the waiting room to a quieter place for individual conversation. Be on the alert if a patient displays any of the following behaviors:
The majority of patients who sue will criticize their physician’s communication style. Effective communication is a vital element in reducing nonmeritorious claims.
The Ask Me 3 program is a time-efficient, effective tool that encourages the patient to participate in his or her own healthcare by understanding the answers to three questions. Download free educational materials to implement the program at www.npsf.org/askme3.
Do not hesitate to call the police if a patient:
Consider terminating the patient from the practice if his or her behavior cannot be rectified or if you or your staff is uncomfortable or feels threatened in the patient’s presence.
By Pamela Willis, BSN, JD, Patient Safety Risk Management Account Executive.
The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.