Communication

Dec 01, 2022
Building a Culture of Safety in Healthcare, Part Two: Teamwork
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group; Senior Vice President, Healthcare Risk Advisors
Teamwork and communication are essential components of patient safety. In the second installment of his four-part series on safety culture, Chief Medical Officer David L. Feldman, MD, identifies best practices in communication to facilitate teamwork.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Oct 12, 2022
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or Text 988
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now 988, an easy-to-remember number for 24/7 crisis care.

Aug 30, 2022
Telephone Triage and Medical Advice Protocols
Debra Kane Hill, MBA, RN, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, and Richard F. Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Telephone triage requires an accurate assessment of the patient’s concerns without the benefit of a face-to-face visit.

Aug 04, 2022
Miscommunication and Hurried Handoffs Threaten Patient Safety
Julie Brightwell, JD, RN, Director, Healthcare System Patient Safety, The Doctors Company
Miscommunication and missed opportunities resulting from hurried handoffs can produce fatal results.

Jul 21, 2022
Effective Obstetrical Team Communication
Pamela Willis, JD, RN, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company
Effective communication requires a team effort for the exchange of concise and relevant information.

Jun 16, 2022
Patient Billing Challenges: Frequently Asked Questions
Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Our experts answer common billing questions and provide strategies to help your practice address issues proactively.

Mar 31, 2022
Long COVID—What Physicians Should Know
Healthcare providers should remain aware of the biggest risks associated with long COVID, what factors can lead to malpractice suits, and how to reduce risk.

Mar 01, 2022
With Medical Implants, Hope and Plan for the Best, but Talk About the Worst
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group; Senior Vice President, Healthcare Risk Advisors
Even with common implant procedures, variability among human systems creates risks and uncertainties. Dr. David L. Feldman discusses the importance of a true informed consent process using shared decision making.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Feb 03, 2022
Informed Refusal
Richard F. Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Documenting a patient’s refusal of test or treatment options is key to minimizing risk exposure.

Feb 02, 2022
Informed Consent: Substance and Signature
Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, Assistant Vice President, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
True informed consent is a process of managing a patient’s expectations. Every healthcare provider should develop an individual style and system, making it easier to avoid omissions and ensure consistency of application.

Jan 27, 2022
As Corporate Entities Enter Healthcare, Practices Can Respond via Patient-Centered Care
Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group
Corporate entities have always been involved in healthcare, but now mega corporations—from outside the medical space—are entering the field. The involvement of these large non-legacy corporate entities in healthcare is growing and is challenging—and while this trend brings some benefits, it will also impact how all clinicians provide healthcare.

Jan 05, 2022
Communicating with COVID-19 Vaccine-Hesitant Patients: Top Tips
Debra Kane Hill, MBA, RN, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company, Part of TDC Group
As the number of Delta and Omicron variant cases increases alarmingly across the United States, more individuals are considering vaccination against COVID. It is important for physicians to be prepared to answer questions from patients about the various vaccines—particularly since some patients remain hesitant about receiving the vaccination.

Dec 15, 2021
Telephone Communication for Healthcare Providers: Safety Strategies
Nicole Franklin, MS, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, The Doctors Company
When casually or carelessly conducted, telephone communications can lead to diagnostic errors and misunderstandings that can culminate in professional malpractice claims

Professional Education
Alzheimer's 4: Addressing Patients' and Families' Needs through the Disease Stages of Dementia
This activity includes seven video lectures and is the fourth in a series of four courses that seek to educate clinicians on standardized screening, evaluation, and disease management of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. This fourth course covers life planning through disease stages, assessing and assisting caregivers, improving communications, utilizing community resources, and end of life decision-making. These sensitive conversations with patients. The course finishes with a focus on dementia resources, effective communication strategies, and understanding when it is time to make a referral to a specialist.
1.8 credits

Professional Education
Alzheimer's 2: Evaluation and Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
This activity includes eight video lectures and is the second in a series of four courses that seek to educate clinicians on standardized screening, evaluation, and disease management of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. This second course introduces the Alzheimer’s project evaluation algorithm and evaluation instruments and focuses on differential diagnoses. Finally, the course discusses how to prepare and engage in a sensitive dementia diagnosis disclosure with patients and caregivers.
1.5 credits

Sep 08, 2021
Terminating Patient Relationships
Julie Brightwell, JD, RN, Director, Healthcare Systems Patient Safety, and Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
If it becomes necessary to end a patient relationship that is no longer therapeutic or appropriate based on patient behaviors, it is critical to end the relationship in a manner that will not lead to claims of discrimination or abandonment.

Professional Education
Patient Relations: Spotlight on Challenging Situations
The Doctors Company’s dedicated patient safety risk managers deliver a wide range of expert services and resources to our members—including personal telephone consultations to help guide members through challenging situations. A recent review of our call data shows that “patient relations” and “patient termination” consistently appear as the top reasons that members request assistance. The following strategies can help prevent challenging patient situations and provide guidance if one occurs.
0.5 credit

Aug 30, 2021
Patient Relations: Anticipate and Address Challenging Situations
Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
A review of call data revealed that patient relations and patient terminations are the top reasons that members request help from our patient safety risk managers.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Professional Education
Alzheimer's 8: Aducanumab for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease – Controversy and Appropriate Communications
Panel discussion among neurologists and geriatric psychiatrists to clarify controversial issues surrounding the FDA’s recent approval of Aducanumab for treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and appropriate messaging to patients and family members. Following their presentations, the panel experts will conduct a question-and-answer session.
1.5 credits

Aug 05, 2021
Top Seven Tips for Telehealth
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group
Now that practitioners and patients are more comfortable with and able to resume in-person visits, virtual visits have declined—although not to the same level as prior to the pandemic. Many believe there will continue to be a desire on the part of patients and practitioners to use telemedicine for healthcare delivery going forward.

Aug 04, 2021
Cognitive Assessments in Primary Care: Preparation and Tools May Mitigate Diagnosis Risks
Carol Murray, RHIA, CPHRM, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company, Part of TDC Group
Recent reimbursement changes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allow primary care providers to meet their patients’ mental health needs and help build their practices by performing cognitive assessments.

Jul 14, 2021
12 Strategies for Success With Open Notes in Healthcare: The Cures Act
Chad Anguilm, MBA; Richard F. Cahill, JD; and Kathleen Stillwell, MPA/HSA, RN
On April 5, 2021, the 21st Century Cures Act prohibition on information blocking, also known as the requirement for open notes, went into effect. All providers who use electronic health records (EHRs) must comply, and patients must be able to access information in their EHRs “without delay.”

Jul 14, 2021
Open Notes in Healthcare: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Cures Act
Chad Anguilm, MBA; Richard F. Cahill, JD; and Kathleen Stillwell, MPA/HSA, RN
Patient access to records is not new, and neither is the Cures Act, which dates to 2016. What is new is the requirement that patients have electronic records access that is fast and easy. This requirement is expected to result in more patients—still a small proportion overall, but more patients—accessing additional EHR information, including providers’ notes.

Jul 14, 2021
Open Notes: Healthcare Providers Should Prepare Now for 2023 and the Cures Act
Chad Anguilm, MBA; Richard F. Cahill, JD; and Kathleen Stillwell, MPA/HSA, RN
The 21st Century Cures Act is a multiphase, multidomain piece of legislation whose requirements for healthcare providers are in effect now, and increase over time. Between pushing for electronic health record (EHR) interoperability and funding vast, ambitious research and data-collection initiatives, the act attempts to harness our collective data-gathering power for medical good.

Jul 14, 2021
What Open Notes Exceptions Does the Cures Act Allow?
Chad Anguilm, MBA; Richard F. Cahill, JD; and Kathleen Stillwell, MPA/HSA, RN
As of April 5, 2021, patients must be able to access information in their electronic health records (EHRs) “without delay.” Unless an exception applies, clinical notes must not be blocked. But what exceptions to open notes does the Cures Act allow—or in some cases, require?

Jun 17, 2021
Deferred, Delayed, Disrupted: Mitigating Risks from Care During COVID-19
Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group
The pandemic has disrupted healthcare so thoroughly that in some sense, COVID-19 has affected all of healthcare. The effect on care has been stunning in magnitude. By mid-2020, more than 40 percent of U.S. adults had delayed medical care or avoided it entirely, including care for urgent and emergent complaints.

Jun 09, 2021
Prevent, Communicate, Document: Medical Malpractice Data Help Us Manage Risk
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company, and for the TDC Group of Companies
Medical malpractice data provide a rich source of information, offering insights into high-risk specialties, medical conditions, and procedures that result in claims.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Apr 15, 2021
Americans with Disabilities Act: Frequently Asked Questions
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, and Richard F. Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Physicians can face steep penalties for failing to comply with federal mandates that protect individuals with disabilities.

Apr 15, 2021
Best Practices in Patient-Centered Care and Shared Decision Making
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, The Doctors Company
Using a patient-centered approach with shared decision making benefits patients by incorporating their needs and priorities into the treatment plan.

Mar 24, 2021
Patient Selection for Elective Cosmetic Procedures
James E. Vogel, MD, FACS, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine, and Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, The Doctors Company
The patient selection process is a valuable tool that can help you reduce risks when you assess prospective patients for elective cosmetic procedures.

Mar 23, 2021
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 03, 2021
Universal Masking Calls for More Structured Communication in Healthcare
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company, and for the TDC Group of Companies
COVID-19 calls for the adoption of structured communication systems across the board. Chief Medical Officer Dr. David L. Feldman highlights steps individuals and institutions can take today.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Mar 03, 2021
Flexibility and Communication Save Lives in NYC: Incorporating Lessons Learned Through Waves of COVID-19
Andrew D. Racine, MD, PhD, Systems Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Montefiore Health System, and Executive Director of the Montefiore Medical Group
Guest author Dr. Andrew Racine shares valuable insights gleaned from treating patients during the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Feb 12, 2021
Rx for Patient Safety: Use Ask Me 3 to Improve Patient Engagement and Communication
Leslie J. Castaneda, BSN, MSHA-HCQA, Patient Safety Healthcare Quality and Risk Management Consultant, The Doctors Company
Although patients commonly nod their heads and indicate they understand, communication issues pose challenges in many practices. Implementing the Ask Me 3 program can improve patient-provider communication.

Professional Education
TeamSTEPPS® Teamwork Training in the Office Practice
This course provides an overview of the evidence-based TeamSTEPPS® concepts, tools, and strategies based on the four areas of 1) leadership, 2) mutual support, 3) situation monitoring, and 4) communication. TeamSTEPPS training provides teachable/learnable skills that improve communication and teamwork among healthcare professionals in both acute care and ambulatory care environments.
1.5 credits

Feb 03, 2021
The Importance of Clinical Health Information at the Point of Radiology Order
Lisa M. McCorkle, MSN, MBA, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company
Having ready access to patients’ clinical information helps radiologists eliminate assumptions and apply their skills and expertise in rendering accurate interpretive reports.

Feb 03, 2021
Curbside Consultations: Patient Safety and Legal Risks
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education; and Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Physicians should be aware of the potential liability of informal "curbside" consultations, especially if expectations between the physicians are not clearly communicated.

Jan 08, 2021
Communication Breakdowns Lead to Missed Spinal Epidural Abscess: Case Study
Michelle Swift, JD, RN, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company
Experts weigh in on this case involving poor communication and failure to diagnose spinal epidural abscess.

Dec 16, 2020
Nonadherent and Noncompliant Patients: Overcoming Barriers
Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Nonadherent or noncompliant patient conduct—whether intentional or unintentional—can affect clinical outcomes. Our strategies can help you uncover and address compliance barriers.

Dec 14, 2020
How Medical Scribes Are Trained—And Used—Varies Widely
Jeffrey A. Gold, MD, Professor of Medicine, Vice Chair for Quality and Safety, Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University
Though it is the fastest growing medical field, there is little regulation or standardization for training medical scribes.

Professional Education
It's the Little Things: An Introduction to Enhancing Patient Relations and Reducing Risks
It's the Little Things is designed to assist medical practices with improvements in patient interactions by looking at how incorporating hospitality as a focus makes a difference. It has been developed to improve multiple facets of patient interaction.
1.3 credits

Dec 08, 2020
Suicide Prevention: Primary Care Is a Crucial Setting for Identifying Risk
Debra Davidson, MJ, CPPS, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, The Doctors Company
At any given time, some of your patients are having thoughts of suicide. Effective suicide prevention requires a comprehensive approach.

Dec 07, 2020
Convincing Patients Not to Delay Necessary In-Person Care During COVID-19: Top 5 Tips
Chad Anguilm, MBA, Vice President, In-Practice Technology Services, Medical Advantage, Part of the TDC Group of Companies
As patients’ fears intensify with the current surge in COVID-19 cases, many practices are presented with a three-fold problem: Patients not getting the care they need, a decline in revenue from in-person appointments, and potential liability risks presented by patients who experience adverse events because of a delayed diagnosis—the number one cause of medical malpractice suits.

Nov 04, 2020
Smartphones, Texts, and HIPAA: Strategies to Protect Patient Privacy
Kim Hathaway, MSN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Healthcare Quality and Risk Management Consultant, The Doctors Company
The very convenience that makes using smartphone technologies so inviting may also create privacy and security violations.

Professional Education
Prevention of Medical Errors: CME Risk Management Course for Florida Practices
This activity is specific to Florida statutes and reflects regulations effective February 2020. Few medical errors are attributed to faulty medical judgment. More commonly, they are attributed to system failures inherent in healthcare delivery. By drawing on our professional liability closed claims data, we have identified common performance and diagnostic errors that reflect on the most common issues identified by Florida—wrong site surgery, surgery complications, cancer, Ob/Gyn related conditions, gastroenterology conditions, cardiology issues, neurological issues, and adverse drug events—that will serve as the focal point of this patient safety and risk management course.
2.0 credits

Sep 21, 2020
Obtaining Informed Consent in Teaching Institutions
Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel
Given the nature of teaching institutions—where individuals in training participate in patient care to varying degrees—the informed consent process is more complex and can present additional liability risks.

Professional Education
Making an Informed Consent an Informed Choice: Training for Healthcare Leaders
This activity is designed for healthcare professionals in leadership positions. It covers the principles of informed consent, crafting and disseminating an informed consent policy, and building systems to improve the informed consent process.
2.0 credits

Professional Education
Making an Informed Consent an Informed Choice: Training for Healthcare Professionals
This activity, designed for doctors, nurses, and other providers, examines problems with the process of healthcare informed consent. It describes the principles of informed consent and highlights the benefits gained from a good informed consent process.
2.3 credits

Jul 07, 2020
Weekend Call Presents Unique Challenges with Surrogate Birth
Amy Wasdin, RN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management.
Communication among healthcare providers, patients, and adoptive parents is critical.

Professional Education
Physician-Patient Relationship: When Does it Begin and When Does it End?
This enduring program will assist the participant in understanding the principles which form the establishment of a physician-patient relationship, as well as the concerns which may result in the need for the physician to consider terminating the physician-patient relationship. Additionally, the concepts of providing patient centered care will be presented for the learner’s consideration.
1.0 credit

Professional Education
General Surgery: Miscommunication and Inaccurate Documentation
Failures of systems often prevent physicians from making timely diagnoses. Failures may result when documentation is inconsistent or not thoroughly read. Other factors that hinder timely diagnosis include inadequate hand-offs or referrals.
0.5 credit

Professional Education
Neurosurgery: Communications and System Failure Leading to Diagnostic Error
Failures of systems often prevent physicians from making timely diagnoses. Failures may result when needed equipment isn’t available or when access to a patient is difficult. System failures may result when there is a lack of coordination of appropriate care among providers, or when poor communication among providers leads to missed and delayed diagnoses.
0.5 credit

Mar 09, 2020
Patient Safety Strategies for Hospitalists
Kathleen Stillwell, MPA/HSA, RN, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager
Hospitalists face liability risks based on their role as an inpatient’s attending physician, covering physician, consultant, and/or co-manager. Two common problem areas are confusion regarding the hospitalist’s role in the patient care continuum and miscommunication during the different phases of inpatient care, especially during handoffs.

Mar 06, 2020
Dealing With Online Patient Complaints
Richard F. Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company
Physicians are understandably concerned about the consequences of negative posts about them on social media platforms.

Jan 30, 2020
Doctors: How to Talk to Patients About Nutrition and Diet
Kerin Torpey Bashaw, MPH, RN, Senior Vice President, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
No more powerful an approach exists to preventing or even reversing heart disease than improving lifestyle, especially nutrition and diet. The challenge for physicians is finding an effective way to talk about nutrition with their patients, because the usual admonitions to eat better and exercise often do not work.

Dec 20, 2019
Burnout Can Affect How Patients Communicate
By Robert D. Morton, BA, ARM, CPHRM, CPPS, Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
If a physician appears burned out, patients may avoid asking questions for fear of adding to the stress.

Dec 11, 2019
Cultural Diversity Creates Language Barriers: Reducing Claims with Multilingual Patients
Rich Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, and Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety Education, The Doctors Company
Clear and unambiguous communication constitutes the key component of the physician-patient relationship. Proactively implementing office procedures to promote optimum communication reduces the risk of disputes.

Nov 05, 2019
When Treating Kids, Learn from the Emergency Department
Phyllis L. Hendry, MD, FAAP, FACEP
To prevent communication gaps when treating kids, all specialties can benefit from lessons learned in the Emergency Department, where conversations are rushed, stakes are high, teams are assembled ad hoc, and physicians seldom have relationships with the patient.

Professional Education
Dementia End of Life Planning: Effective Communications with Patients and Families
The fourth course covers important end of life planning topics and concepts, and tips for having these sensitive conversations with patients and family members. The course finishes with a focus on dementia community resources, effective communication strategies, and understanding when it is appropriate to make a referral to a specialist.
1.0 credit

Professional Education
Dementia Screening Among Adults with Cognitive Decline
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.
1.3 credits

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

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.

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

Oct 05, 2017
Disclosure Resources
Resources and guidelines to help physicians when disclosing adverse events and complications.

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.

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