Communication

Aug 14, 2018
Surprise, Disappointment, and Anger Lead to Malpractice Lawsuits
Mark Gorney, MD, FACS (1924–2014), 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.

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.

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 (1924–2014), Governor Emeritus, and 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.

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.

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

Dec 06, 2017
Electronic Health Record Closed Claims Study
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director, Board of Governors
Dr. Troxel provides a follow-up to his 2015 analysis of EHR-related claims.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

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.

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 22, 2016
Electronic Health Record Malpractice Risks
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director, Board of Governors
It is important for physicians to become familiar with liability risks associated with electronic health records.

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 (1924–2014), Governor Emeritus, Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management 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.

Oct 26, 2015
Reducing the Risk of Retained Foreign Objects During Surgery
Ernest E. Allen, CSP, ARM, Patient Safety/Risk Management Account Executive, The Doctors Company.
Medical RFI (radio frequency identification) chip technology is now available to track sponges and surgical towels used during a procedure.

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.

Feb 01, 2015
Patient Selection for Elective Procedures
Susan Shepard, MSN. RN, Director, Patient Safety 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.

Jan 22, 2015
Working with Patients Who Do Not Follow the Treatment Plan
Patients who do not follow the treatment plan may become high liability risks because their behavior often exacerbates existing health problems, which can lead to negative outcomes.

Dec 12, 2014
Curbside Consultations
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Safety 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 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.

Mar 25, 2014
Encourage Patients to “Speak Up”
The Joint Commission's"Speak Up" campaign urges patients to take an active role in preventing errors by becoming more involved in and informed about their healthcare.

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.

Oct 01, 2011
Signing Off and Signing Out: Lost in Translation
Ann S. Lofsky, MD (1956–2008), Governor Emeritus, and Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management 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.

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
Eight Little Words
Ann S. Lofsky, MD (1956–2008), Governor Emeritus
No wording will be more carefully scrutinized than that in a medical record involved in a malpractice trial.

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.

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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