General Surgery

Aug 19, 2019
Electronic Health Records Continue to Lead to Medical Malpractice Suits
Darrell Ranum, JD, Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Management
We analyzed 216 medical malpractice claims that closed from 2010 to 2018 in which EHRs contributed to patient injury. The pace of these claims grew, from a low of seven cases in 2010 to an average of 22.5 cases per year in 2017 and 2018. As EHRs approach near-universal adoption, they may become a more prevalent source of patient safety risk.

Jun 13, 2019
An Analysis of Malpractice Claims by Physician Gender
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Consultant to The Doctors Company
A gender-specific analysis of 5,897 claims from six medical specialties.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

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
Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery Informed Consent
Informed consent involves more than a patient signing a form. This activity explains how to enact an informed consent process based on best practices in dentistry and oral surgery.
1.0 Credit

Apr 17, 2019
Patient Safety Strategies for Dermatology
Victoria H. Rollins, MHA, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety Programs
Doctors can reduce potential liability in dermatology by taking risk management steps, such as avoiding verbal prescription orders.

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

Video Apr 09, 2019
Study of Malpractice Claims Involving Children
Patient safety risks when treating children vary depending on the patient’s age—but communication breakdowns between doctors and patients/families occur in malpractice claims for pediatric patients of ALL ages. Watch this important case study to learn more.

Mar 20, 2019
Study of Malpractice Claims Involving Children
Darrell Ranum, JD, CPHRM, Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management
The Doctors Company analyzed 1,215 claims filed on behalf of pediatric patients that closed from 2008 through 2017. The study is based on the claims filed against physicians in 52 specialties and subspecialties and includes an overview of the most common types of claims, expert insights into the specific elements that led to patient injury, and risk mitigation strategies.

Professional Education
Opioid Pain Management and Appropriate Prescribing for Older Adults
This activity includes five video segments on effective pain management and appropriate prescribing of opioid medication for older adult patients. Presenters include a family practice physician, orthopedic surgeon, palliative care physician, and a pain management specialist provider.
1.5 Credits

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.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Threat of Global Epidemics: Surgeon General Speaks
There is a growing threat of global epidemics, including Ebola and Zika, and U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, is working to address this threat and promote health through better community partnerships. He made his comments to attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Surgeon General's Priority: Partnering for Public Health
Community health and economic prosperity are connected, and healthcare professionals can partner with the business community to improve public health. This priority for public health was shared by U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, with attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: Progress Report from Surgeon General
Programs for combatting the opioid epidemic, reducing overdose rates, and addressing other addiction epidemic issues (including heroin and fentanyl) are explored by U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. His comments were made to attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Surgeon General's Strategies for the Opioid Epidemic
U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, detailed some of the strategies, plans, and programs that can be effective in combating today's opioid epidemic when addressing attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting. Topics include prescription drug monitoring programs, reasonable alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management, medication-assisted treatment for those in recovery, and co-prescribing naloxone for those at risk of opioid overdose.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Surgeon General Addresses E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Vaping and e-cigarettes present a significant healthcare challenge for physicians today. U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, addresses this issue and the fact that young people are susceptible to developmental delays and effects on the brain from vaping and e-cigarettes, which prime them for addiction up to age 26. His comments were made to attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting.

Video Oct 31, 2018
Naloxone to Fight the Opioid Epidemic: Surgeon General's Perspective
Co-prescribing naloxone can help turn around opioid overdose rates and is an important first step in fighting the opioid epidemic, says U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. His comments were made to attendees at The Doctors Company's 2018 Executive Advisory Board meeting.

Oct 30, 2018
U.S. Surgeon General Discusses Public Health Issues
United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, discusses how vaping and e-cigarettes present a significant healthcare challenge for physicians, as well as how changes in healthcare payment models are increasing the focus on public health.

Oct 30, 2018
U.S. Surgeon General Discusses the Opioid Epidemic
United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, discusses the opioid epidemic’s huge impact and strategies to combat it, including prescription drug monitoring programs, medication-assisted treatment for those in recovery, and co-prescribing naloxone for those who are at risk of opioid overdose.

Video Sep 27, 2018
Future of Healthcare: Physicians Won't Recommend Their Profession
The Future of Healthcare Survey of over 3,400 doctors shows physicians are disenchanted with practicing medicine, largely because of technologies and payment models they say are interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and their ability to provide quality care. Despite continuing volatility in the industry and resulting dissatisfaction, one of the predominant themes captured in this survey is the concern physicians share for their patients and the quality of the care they receive.

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.

Professional Education
Distracted Practice in the Perioperative Area
The invasion of personal electronic devices (PEDs) into certain healthcare environments can put patients at risk. The perioperative area is an environment where distraction from PEDs can lead to patient injury or death. This activity provides tools and information for individuals to become aware of risks, to assess how PEDs impact their environment, and to develop preventive measures to control PED usage.
1.25 Credits

Jun 26, 2018
Conflicting Guidelines on Mammograms Can Pose Risks
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director, The Doctors Company.
Breast cancer screening guidelines issued by national organizations and medical specialties have inconsistent recommendations about mammogram screening ages and intervals, which can create potential liability for delayed or missed diagnoses. Learn how to reduce these mammography risks.

Apr 25, 2018
A Complication Involving Laparoscopic Lysis of Adhesions
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director, Board of Governors
A medical malpractice case about laparoscopic lysis of adhesions involved negligent performance of surgery and mismanagement of postoperative care.

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
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

Jun 06, 2017
Prescribing Opioids Safely
Howard Marcus, MD, FACP
Dr. Howard Marcus discusses guidelines and recommendations for preventing opioid misuse and addiction in patients with acute or chronic pain.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

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 23, 2017
Caring for the Hospitalized Obese Patient
Paul Nagle, ARM, CPHRM, Director of Physician Patient Safety, and Shelley Rizzo, MSN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II
Obesity is a common comorbidity for hospitalized patients. The challenge is being prepared to accommodate obese patients and care for them with dignity while keeping both patient and staff safe.

Jan 05, 2017
Patient Safety in Anesthesiology
Donald Wood, CRNA, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II.
Anesthesiologists can reduce potential liability by taking risk management steps, such as obtaining separate informed consent for anesthesia care.

Oct 26, 2016
Optimize the EHR: Better Workflow Means Better Work-Life Balance
Chad Anguilm, Director of Professional Services, Medical Advantage Group. Medical Advantage Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Doctors Company.
There are tools that can streamline patient care and payment workflows in the electronic health record (EHR). By dedicating time and effort up front to optimize the EHR, physicians can get relief from administrative tasks, reduce duplicate entry of data, and save time by not having to search for records in multiple places.

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.

Feb 18, 2016
Are Decisions Shared?
Robin Diamond, JD, RN, Senior Vice President, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management
There is a growing emphasis on patient-centered care and shared decision making in healthcare.
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Sep 03, 2015
Minimizing Surgical Errors
Jonathan Jones, MD
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Sep 03, 2015
Teamwork in the OR
Susan Shepard, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Safety Education, The Doctors Company
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Jun 08, 2015
MAC/Sedation Fires Increasing
Susan K. Palmer, MD, The Doctors Company Anesthesia Advisory Board Member
Dr. Susan Palmer offers strategies for preventing MAC/sedation fires. Author: Susan K. Palmer, MD
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Mar 14, 2015
Analyzing Bowel Perforation Claims
Darrell Ranum, JD, CPHRM, Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management
Darrell Ranum outlines findings from a recent analysis of bowel perforation claims. Author: Darrell Ranum, JD, CPHRM
From The Doctor’s Advocate

Dec 20, 2013
Interactive Guide to Patient Safety for Office Practices
This interactive guide is designed to help you uncover areas of potential malpractice exposure in your practice.

Oct 03, 2013
Medical Clearance
Susan L. Marr, MSA, CPHRM, Patient Safety/Risk Management Account Executive, The Doctors Company.
Medical clearance should involve an exchange of information between the surgeon and the assessing physician to mitigate risk to the surgical patient.

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.

Jun 22, 2010
Dilaudid-Related Morbidity and Mortality from Respiratory Depression
Howard Marcus, MD, FACP, a general internist in Austin, Texas, and chairman of The Doctors Company Physician Advisory Board in Texas.
Patient safety organizations and the FDA are focusing on ways to reduce patient harm from opioids.

Feb 01, 2004
Surgery: Foreign Object Retention
John K. Cherry, M.D., F.A.C.S., a retired general surgeon, is a former chief of staff and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.
The retention of a foreign object within a patient's body cavity or incision after an operation is a source of avoidable litigation for surgeons and facilities.

May 01, 2000
Removing a Pigmented Skin Lesion
David Charles, M.D., is a practicing plastic surgeon in Denver, and is co-owner of the Plastic Surgery Clinic. Dr. Charles is a member of The Doctors Company Board of Governors.
When considering treatment for any pigmented skin lesion, there is no substitute for accurate microscopic pathological confirmation prior to definitive treatment. The range of error in clinical as opposed to microscopic diagnosis can be as high as 50 percent.

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