Communication

Professional Education
Dementia Q&A: What Physicians Ask About Diagnosis and Treatment
The Alzheimer's Project Series
This course focuses on the common concerns and questions expressed by physicians about dementia and cognitive impairment. This course covers making the initial observation of cognitive decline and beginning a conversation with older adult patients; overcoming common barriers to making a definitive diagnosis of dementia; and managing the ongoing clinical needs of patients experiencing dementia.
1.5 Credits

Jun 17, 2019
Terminating Patient Relationships
Julie Brightwell, JD, RN, Director, Healthcare Systems Patient Safety, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, and Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel
It is an acceptable practice for doctors to end a patient relationship under most conditions, but some situations may require additional steps or delay of the termination.

Professional Education
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Evaluation and Diagnosis
The Alzheimer's Project Series
The second course introduces The Alzheimer's Project Evaluation Algorithm and Evaluation Instruments, and focuses on differential diagnoses. The course includes ideas for how to prepare and engage in a sensitive dementia diagnosis disclosure with patients and caregivers.
1.5 Credits

Professional Education
Dementia Screening Among Adults with Cognitive Decline
The Alzheimer's Project Series
The first course introduces The Alzheimer’s Project and highlights the increasingly important role of primary care practitioners in dementia care. It presents The Alzheimer’s Project Cognitive Impairment Screening Algorithm and Screening Instruments, and it addresses reversible conditions that may present similar symptoms to cognitive impairment. The course incorporates four videos, each followed by a series of related questions.
1.25 Credits

Professional Education
Physical Examination and Its Impact on Outcomes
The Doctor's Advocate
Advancements in technology improve the timeliness and accuracy of many diagnoses but the technology does not replace a thorough physical examination. For some diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, herpes zoster, cellulitis, and Bell’s palsy the PE is the only diagnostic tool available. This short course makes the case for reversing the downward trend for physical examinations.
0.75 Credits

Professional Education
Neurological Case Study: Management of the Surgical Patient
Claims Corner CME
This Claims Corner examines a neurosurgical case that alleges several failures to assess and treat a patient in a timely manner. It also highlights the importance of communicating with physicians and advanced practice providers involved with post-surgical care.
0.5 Credits

Professional Education
Ob/Gyn: Telephone Communications
Claims Corner CME
The most frequent inconsistent practice found in the Practice Risk INSIGHT assessments was telephone communication (22 percent not met). When appropriate and adequate systems are in place, the physician is less at risk for having a suit filed. This case-based study provides insights and risk management techniques to lessen the frequency and severity of such a claim.
0.5 Credits

Professional Education
Psychiatry: Preventing Adverse Outcomes
The Doctors Company study of closed claims reveals areas of higher risk in outpatient psychiatry practices. Using this as a foundation, the course provides information to evaluate your practice and make changes to improve decisions about treatment, operational processes, reporting, and documentation.
1.5 Credits

Professional Education
Preventing Adverse Outcomes When Treating Children
The Doctor's Advocate
The Doctors Company studied claims filed on behalf of pediatric patients that closed over a 10-year period from 2008 through 2017. You are provided the most common types of claims and includes expert insights into the specific elements that led to patient injury, and risk mitigation strategies.
1.0 Credit

Dec 28, 2018
Curbside Consultations: Patient Safety and Legal Risks
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, and Carol Murray, RHIA, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II
Physicians should be aware of the potential liability of informal "curbside" consultations, especially if expectations between the physicians are not clearly communicated.

Dec 20, 2018
Reduce Risks in Patient Handoffs: Signing Off and Signing Out
Ann S. Lofsky, MD, Governor Emeritus, and Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety Staff Education.
Whether signing out to a colleague for the weekend or permanently closing a practice, handing off responsibility for patient care can create liability risks for the physician.

Nov 14, 2018
Patient Selection for Elective Procedures
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education
The patient selection process is a valuable tool for loss control, because many claims occur with patients who are not appropriate candidates for a procedure.

Aug 14, 2018
Surprise, Disappointment, and Anger Lead to Malpractice Lawsuits
Mark Gorney, MD, FACS Governor Emeritus, and Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel
The common denominator of all malpractice claims is a combination of surprise, disappointment, and anger. Anger is by far the most common factor in stimulating further action by the patient. Regardless of the actual cause, anger will be focused on the most convenient and visible target—the physician.

Jul 27, 2018
Distracting Devices in Healthcare: Malpractice Implications
Shelley Rizzo, MSN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II
Digital distraction in healthcare is emerging as a great threat to patient safety and physician well-being. Personal electronic devices can create a digital distraction so engaging that it consumes awareness, potentially preventing healthcare providers from focusing on the primary task at hand—caring for and interacting with patients.

Video Jul 27, 2018
Malpractice Repercussions: Distracting Devices and Patient-Centered Care
The health environment has been invaded by not only medical technology, but by individuals who become too connected to their own devices. Steven Weintraub, MD, interviews Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC, about distracting devices in the context of patient-centered care and the malpractice repercussions that occur when practitioners appear to be distracted.

Video Jul 27, 2018
Addiction Indicators: Distracting Devices and Patient-Centered Care
The health environment has been invaded by not only medical technology, but by individuals who become too connected to their own devices. Steven Weintraub, MD, interviews Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC, about the potential for a physician to be perceived as addicted to a personal electronic device.

Video Jul 27, 2018
The Stress Paradigm: Distracting Devices and Patient-Centered Care
The health environment has been invaded by not only medical technology, but by individuals who become too connected to their own devices. Steven Weintraub, MD, interviews Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC, on distracting devices and how they contribute to physician stress.

Professional Education
Distracted Practice Reduction: Strategies for Healthcare Leaders
Healthcare leaders play an important role in patient safety. This activity examines how distraction and interruptions impact safe patient care and identifies what leaders of organizations, teams, and departments can do to address the problem.
1.25 Credit

Jun 07, 2018
Team Synergy: A Critical Core Competency for Safe Care
Lisa McCorkle, MSN, MBA, Patient Safety Risk Manager, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management
An account of one group’s efforts to create and sustain a team-oriented culture through teamwork training.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Professional Education
Teamwork Benefits: How Practices Build Effective Teams
The Doctor's Advocate
All healthcare professionals need a framework and tools to function as an effective team member in a hospital, clinic, or medical or dental practice. This activity highlights how teamwork contributed to performance improvement in one medical practice.
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Pathology: Reducing Malpractice Claim Risks
By recognizing the risks associated with their specialty, pathologists can bring about changes that result in faster, higher-quality, and safer care. This course requires reading six pathology-related articles published by The Doctors Company, answering a series of questions, and reflecting on changes that could reduce risks and improve care in your practice setting.
1.0 Credits

May 24, 2018
Physician Learning Must Evolve to Keep Healthcare Workforce Prepared
Eric Barna, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine/Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital
Funded by a grant from The Doctors Company Foundation, Mt. Sinai is the first hospital in New York that has established a program designed specifically to assess and address some of the unique communication challenges facing hospitalists to improve patient care.

May 14, 2018
Improving Medical Office Communication and Safety
David O. Hester, FASHRM, CPHRM, Director, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management
Develop procedures for your staff to help reduce communication errors with hospitals, labs, and other physicians, as well as communications within the office.

Apr 25, 2018
Communication and Resolution Programs Improve Patient Safety, Mitigate Risk
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director
This article discusses the benefits to physicians of using communication and resolution programs (CRPs) within the context of the movement to disclose medical errors.

Mar 29, 2018
Obtaining Informed Consent in Teaching Institutions
Mark Gorney, MD, FACS Governor Emeritus. Updated by Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel.
It is important to inform patients when a resident physician will perform all or part of a procedure.

Feb 21, 2018
Telephone Triage and Medical Advice
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education
Telephone communication, a critical part of the patient's overall care and management, presents a significant area of liability exposure.

Professional Education
Spinal Epidural Abscess: A Case Study Review
Designed primarily for hospitalists and other physicians practicing in the hospital setting, this activity explores the problems associated with diagnosing and treating spinal epidural abscess. It defines the most frequent type of risk and the severity of losses, as well as strategies to overcome these risks.
.75 Credit

Feb 01, 2018
Rx for Patient Safety: Ask Me 3
Victoria H. Rollins, MHA, RN, Director, Patient Safety Programs.
The Ask Me 3 program is a time-efficient, effective tool that encourages patients to participate in their healthcare by asking questions.

Video Jan 24, 2018
How to Spot Potentially Violent Patients
Healthcare workers face significant risk of job-related violence: 52% of all workplace violence occurs in healthcare. Mitigating the risk of violence includes early identification of high-risk patients.

Professional Education
The Alzheimer's Project
The goal of this series is to educate clinicians on standardized screening, evaluation, and management of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Doctors Company is pleased to support Champions for Health in training primary care physicians and other healthcare practitioners to diagnose and care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Up to 9.0 Credits

Video Jan 04, 2018
Disaster Preparedness for Your Medical Practice
Recent fires, hurricanes, and floods nationwide have highlighted the importance of planning for disasters. Wildfires in California forced several physicians to quickly relocate their practices―some permanently―and to move scheduled procedures to different facilities. Hurricane and flood damage in Texas and Florida left practices without power for days or even weeks. Is your practice prepared for this type of situation?

Dec 15, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions: Americans with Disabilities Act
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, and Richard F. Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel
Our experts answer questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is designed to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities and provide enforceable standards to address such discrimination.

Dec 13, 2017
Disaster Preparedness for Your Medical Practice
Julie Brightwell, JD, RN, Director, Healthcare System Patient Safety, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management
Recent fires, hurricanes, and floods nationwide have highlighted the importance of planning for disasters. Physicians are critical participants in disaster preparedness, ensuring that patient care and critical services are not interrupted—especially for at-risk individuals who may have special medical needs.

Dec 07, 2017
Teamwork Saves Lives in Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Shooting
Shelley Rizzo, MSN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company, and Steven J. Weintraub, MD, Chief of Risk Management, North American Partners in Anesthesia
Teams pull together to save lives and provide support during a deadly hospital shooting.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Professional Education
Obstetrics: Preventing Adverse Outcomes
This activity is based on The Doctors Company's guide to reducing patient safety risks in obstetrics and gynecology. It is intended to provide essential training for obstetricians, gynecologists, family practitioners, and advanced practice providers who are actively involved in delivering women’s healthcare. 
2.25 Credits

Professional Education
Teamwork Training! An Overview of TeamSTEPPS
This activity presents an overview of the evidence-based TeamSTEPPS concepts, tools, and strategies that are based on leadership, mutual support, situation monitoring, and communication. These teachable/learnable skills can improve communication and teamwork among healthcare professionals in both acute care and ambulatory care environments.
1.25 Credits

Professional Education
Obstetrics: Spotlight on Preventing Claims
The Doctor's Advocate
This activity highlights The Doctors Company's insights into preventing obstetrical claims by sharing the most likely risks encountered by obstetricians and preventive actions that have proven effective at mitigating these risks.
1.25 Credits

Professional Education
Gastroenterology: Preventing Adverse Outcomes
This activity identifies the factors that contribute to patient allegations and injuries as revealed by closed claims involving gastroenterologists. It provides physicians with appropriate strategies for their practice that, if implemented, can improve quality and safety and positively affect patient outcomes.
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Patient-Physician Relationship: When Does It Begin and When Does It End?
This activity increases understanding of the principles that form a physician-patient relationship and the necessary considerations before terminating a relationship. It also highlights the importance of timely documentation when establishing or ending a physician-patient relationship.
1.25 Credit

Professional Education
Managing Challenging Patients
This activity explores ways to enhance communication among providers and patients with the goal of reducing confrontational behavior when managing a difficult patient. It includes preventive strategies as well the considerations necessary before taking steps to end a physician-patient relationship.
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Plastic Surgery Closed Claims Study: Lessons Learned
The Doctors Company's analysis of 1,438 closed claims against plastic surgeons revealed what motivates patients to pursue claims. This activity helps physicians understand the system failures and processes that result in patient harm and implement strategies known to decrease the risk of injury and improve quality of care.
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Internal Medicine Closed Claims Study: Lessons Learned
The Doctors Company analyzed 1,180 closed claims against internal medicine physicians to identify what motivates patients to pursue claims, where system failures and processes result in patient harm, and what strategies can be used to mitigate risk. 
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Hospitalist Malpractice Claims Study: Lessons Learned
The findings from The Doctors Company's study of 464 closed claims against hospitalists revealed what motivates patients to pursue claims, where system failures and processes result in patient harm, and what strategies can be used to mitigate risk.
1.0 Credit

Professional Education
Patient Relations: It's the Little Things
Gain insights into how physician and dental practices enhance the patient experience by using hospitality and communication techniques. Improving the patient experience, both in-person and online, reduces bad publicity and the chance of a lawsuit.
1.75 Credits

Oct 14, 2017
Challenging Communications
Michelle Swift, JD, RN, Patient Safety Risk Manager II
Communication breakdowns are a frequent risk management finding in claims, as highlighted in this case study.

Video Aug 19, 2017
How to Build Patient-Centered Relationships
A patient-centered relationship can improve patient outcomes. The first step in developing a patient-centered relationship is starting a dialogue with the patient and exploring the patient's concerns.

Video Aug 14, 2017
Tips for Improving Patient Satisfaction
Physicians who communicate well with their patients have higher patient satisfaction scores and lower liability risks. Self-analysis and coaching can help physicians become better communicators.

Video Aug 05, 2017
Don't Interrupt. Let Your Patient Talk
Diagnostic accuracy is improved when physicians give patients the time and space to tell their story. By allowing patients the time they need to explain the reason for their visit, physicians can reduce "doorknob questions," which occur when the patient brings up what may be the most critical symptom just as the doctor is leaving the exam room.

Jun 14, 2017
How Medical Scribes Are Trained—And Used—Varies Widely
Jeffrey A. Gold, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Simulation, Oregon Health and Science University
Though it is the fastest growing medical field, there is little regulation or standardization for training medical scribes.

Apr 17, 2017
Prescribing Opioids Safely: How to Have Difficult Patient Conversations
Roneet Lev, MD, Chief of Scripps Mercy Emergency Department, Chair of Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force, and President of Independent Emergency Physicians Consortium
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and opioids account for over 60 percent of those deaths. Building a strong doctor-patient rapport can help facilitate tough conversations with patients about opioid prescriptions and reduce risks that could lead to malpractice suits.

Mar 16, 2017
San Diego Death Diaries
Roneet Lev, MD
Dr. Roneet Lev provides insights into the prescription opioid abuse epidemic.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Mar 16, 2017
Analysis of Medication-Related Claims from The Doctors Company
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director, Board of Governors
Dr. David Troxel reviews 1,770 closed by The Doctors Company in which patient harm involved medication factors.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Feb 18, 2017
Up for Review: Five Keys to Managing Online Criticism
Kevin Pho, MD, Founder and Editor, KevinMD.com
No matter how professional and caring a doctor you may be, eventually you will face criticism on the web. Here are five keys to managing that criticism.

Feb 03, 2017
To Text or Not to Text
Julie Song, MPH, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, and Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education.
Without appropriate safeguards, texting can lead to violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Nov 30, 2016
Watch for the Signs: Screen All Patients for Suicidal Thoughts
Robin Diamond, MSN, JD, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Patients with suicidal thoughts or ideation appear occasionally in physician encounters. Any patient, no matter what issue is being treated and in any setting, could be at risk for suicide. A consistent and formal screening process, plus a response plan, will protect both the patient and the physician.

Nov 08, 2016
Meeting the Challenges of the Nonadherent Orthopedic Surgical Patient
Cynthia Morrison, RN, CPHRM, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, and Amy Wasdin, RN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II.
Orthopedic surgeons can reduce potential liability by following these tips for managing nonadherent patient behavior.

Sep 20, 2016
Money Talks: Discussing Cost with Patients Before Treatment Is a Win-Win
Ralph A. Gambarella, MD, Chairman and President of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, and a member of The Doctors Company's Orthopedic Advisory Board.
The physician needs to be involved in making sure that the patient is informed and educated about the financial burden of surgical and medical treatments. Doing this before proceeding with treatment can help lower the risk of a malpractice claim even when the medical outcome doesn’t meet the patient’s expectations.

Aug 11, 2016
Missed Opportunities
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety Education, and Julie Brightwell, JD, RN, Director, Healthcare System Patient Safety.
Miscommunication and missed opportunities resulting from hurried handoffs can produce fatal results.

Jul 26, 2016
CANDOR Toolkit: Physicians Now Have the Right Tools to Do the Right Thing After an Adverse Event
Robin Diamond, MSN, JD, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Management
The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) Toolkit helps hospitals and doctors communicate openly and effectively with patients after adverse events.

Jun 13, 2016
Telephone Communication for Physicians
Mark Gorney, MD, FACS Governor Emeritus. Updated by Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety Staff Education, and Nicole Franklin, MS, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II
When carelessly conducted, telephone communications can lead to diagnostic errors and misunderstandings that culminate in medical malpractice claims and lawsuits.

May 06, 2016
Shared Responsibility for Preventing Malpractice Suits—Patient Interactions
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, and Carol Murray, RHIA, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II.
The basic emotions leading to any medical liability action are surprise, disappointment, and anger.

May 01, 2016
Effective Obstetrical Team Communication
Cynthia Morrison, RN, CPHRM, Senior Patient Safety/Risk Manager
Effective communication requires a team effort for the exchange of concise and relevant information.

Apr 13, 2015
Damage Control: Dealing with Online Patient Complaints
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Safety Education, and David O. Hester, FASHRM, CPHRM, Director, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management.
There is no easy remedy to completely eradicate negative comments once they are on the Internet.

Dec 02, 2014
Informed Refusal
Documenting a patient’s refusal of test or treatment options is key to minimizing risk exposure.

Sep 01, 2014
The Internet: Friend or Foe to Physicians
Robin Diamond, JD, RN; AHA Fellow-Patient Safety Leadership; Senior Vice President, Patient Safety.
Physicians must use care in dealing with Internet review sites used by consumers.

Nov 01, 2013
Frequently Asked Questions: Treating Patients in a Difficult Economy
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Safety Education; and Richard Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company.
Our experts answer questions about billing issues, including when patients are unable or unwilling to pay doctor charges.

Jun 26, 2013
No-Show New Patients May Leave Physicians at Risk
Physicians face certain risks and responsibilities when collecting patient information prior to the patient arriving for his or her appointment.

Feb 08, 2012
Imperative Conversations: Managing Transitions of Care in the Hospital
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Safety Education.
Standardizing the handoff process has been shown to lower rates of perceived near-miss events and adverse outcomes.

Sep 01, 2011
Patient-Centered Communications: Building Patient Rapport
Wendy G. Anderson, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
Communication skills can help hospitalists overcome barriers to care by ensuring a clear exchange of information that engenders patient trust.

Jul 01, 2011
Addressing Patient Issues and Other Challenging Situations
Pamela Willis, BSN, JD, Patient Safety Risk Management Account Executive
The majority of patients who sue for malpractice will criticize their physician’s communication style. Effective communication is a vital element in reducing nonmeritorious claims.

Jul 01, 2011
Eight Little Words
Ann S. Lofsky, MD, Governor Emeritus
No wording will be more carefully scrutinized than that in a medical record involved in a malpractice trial.

Dec 21, 2010
Fire Safety in the Surgical Suite
Susan K. Palmer, MD, Oregon Anesthesiology Group, and Ernest E. Allen, Account Executive, Patient Safety Department, The Doctors Company.
Besides conducting annual fire drills that include what to do if a fire occurs on a patient, it is also wise to review fire risks in high-risk procedures prior to the start of the surgical procedure.

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