HIPAA Fundamentals 2022–2023 Edition
This on-demand program provides an orientation to the basic requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA gives patients many rights with respect to their health information. This program provides details on the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, such as the type of information that is protected, who must comply with the rules, and how patient information can be used and disclosed. This on-demand program includes many resources useful to staff training.
Mar 03, 2022
Challenges of Cultural Diversity in Healthcare: Protect Your Patients and Yourself
A clinician’s cultural competence is critically important in helping to eliminate health disparities and social disadvantages for all patients, regardless of their ethnicity or race.
Burnout: Spotlight on System Changes
There is a national movement to address the systemic causes of clinician burnout. Read the article "Clinician Burnout: From a Crisis to a Movement" to learn ways that clinicians can create system change in their own work environments.
Safe Opioid Prescribing for Physicians and Dentists
Opioids play an important role in pain management—both in the acute and the chronic setting, but a variety of causes have contributed to an opioid-related epidemic leading to addiction and death. There has also been substantial misuse of opioids by prescription and by diversion.
Clinical Presentations Cause Delays: Failure to Diagnose Myocardial Infarction
In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified missed or delayed diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI) in the ambulatory internal medicine setting as a reoccurring problem. This course highlights the importance of recognizing the varying clinical
presentations of MI and contributing factors associated with failure to diagnose and treat. Assumptions, lack of a thorough history and physical, communication failures, and failure to recognizing atypical signs and symptoms are highlighted in this case study.
Delayed Diagnosis of Stroke
In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified diagnostic failure as a reoccurring problem and one of the top three leading allegations that result in malpractice claims. This failure often leads to a delay in treatment and causes significant harm to patients. The following highlights the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Cervical Cancer Claims: A Review in Gynecology
Cervical cancer medical negligence claims are reviewed over a ten-year period to identify the major case types in which the gynecologist is the responsible party. The factors that contributed to those claims as identified by plaintiff and defense physician experts are discussed through case examples with learner questions. Risk mitigation strategies are identified to guide gynecologists in further providing the safest patient care and thereby improving their risk profile.
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.
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.
Alzheimer's – 3 Addressing and Managing Behavioral and Environmental Symptoms of Dementia
This activity includes eight video lectures and is the third 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 third course focuses on using the DICE method to assess behavioral symptoms of dementia and create and evaluation treatment plans. This course also covers the careful use of medication during disease management as wells as common behavioral issues with dementia patients including tools for management of these behaviors.
Alzheimer's – 1 Screening for Dementia Among Adults with Cognitive Decline
This activity includes eight video lectures and is the first 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 first course focuses on introducing the Alzheimer’s Project and highlighting the increasingly important role of primary care providers in dementia care. This course also introduces the Alzheimer’s Project cognitive impairment screening algorithm and screening instruments and covers addressing reversible conditions that may present similar symptoms to cognitive impairment.
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.
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.
Patient Safety in Spine Surgery
Spine surgery requires a series of best practice patient safety
interventions to reduce the frequency and severity of patient harm while
giving the care team the resources to mitigate such harm. Evidence-based clinical methods, pathways, and tools coupled with an evolving culture of patient safety through effective communication, teams, and teamwork has shown to reduce patient harm exponentially. Patient and clinical team experiences are enhanced while ensuring a learning culture is built that approaches surgery from both a technical and nontechnical approach alike.
The Need for Close Monitoring in Hyponatremia: Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome
In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified mismanagement of sodium levels during correction of severe hyponatremia as a serious problem that can result in catastrophic permanent neurological injury due to osmotic demyelination syndrome (also known as central pontine myelinolysis). This article highlights the importance of close monitoring of sodium levels during correction of severe hyponatremia, with a slow and controlled pace of sodium correction. Contributing factors discussed include clinical judgment with regard to rate of rise of sodium levels, patient monitoring, choice of practice setting, and communication between providers, especially at points of transition in care.
Risky Practices: Hidden Liabilities Identified by Medical Office Assessments
Office practice assessments by The Doctors Company's patient safety risk managers uncover hidden liability risks, often exposing areas where patients can "fall through the cracks" and leave the practice vulnerable to a malpractice claim. Our Practice Risk INSIGHT, an assessment tool customized by specialty, zeros in on problematic areas. The assessments have been completed across a range of practice environments around the country—from small offices to practices that are part of large integrated delivery systems. In this course, we analyze the results of the Practice Risk INSIGHT assessments, highlight problem-prone areas and offer strategies to minimize liability.
Telehealth: Review Your Service Components
Many practices implemented telehealth overnight in response to pandemic restrictions on elective care. Practices already using telehealth saw huge increases in volume. This program presents a roadmap for practices to evaluate their telehealth implementation using the best practice tips identified herein and their own lessons learned.
Pain Management - A Closed Claim Analysis Looking at Risks and Lessons Learned
For the first time, The Doctors Company has published an analysis of lawsuits and claims filed against pain management physicians. This study completed in 2020 provides quantitative and qualitative information that a physician who practices pain management, including interventional approaches to treatment would find useful in mitigating the risks of unintended outcomes or harms. This study breaks down where most patient injuries occur, what those injuries are, and the lessons learned from those claims.
Mar 23, 2021
Prescribing Opioids Safely: How to Have Difficult Patient Conversations
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.
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.
Feb 03, 2021
Curbside Consultations: Patient Safety and Legal Risks
Physicians should be aware of the potential liability of informal "curbside" consultations, especially if expectations between the physicians are not clearly communicated.
Jan 28, 2021
Missed Diagnosis of Spinal Epidural Abscess
Spinal epidural abscess requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent serious neurological complications.
Jan 20, 2021
Implicit Bias Against Obesity: An Opportunity to Improve Patient Safety
Many patients with obesity delay seeking medical care because of previous negative experiences with healthcare providers.
Jan 08, 2021
Communication Breakdowns Lead to Missed Spinal Epidural Abscess: Case Study
Experts weigh in on this case involving poor communication and failure to diagnose spinal epidural abscess.
HIPAA for Managers: The High-Level View
The program explores and defines HIPAA policies and procedures, business associate agreements, security assessment and analysis, training requirements, HIPAA compliance requirements, breach events, and informed consent.
Prevention of Diagnostic Error in Primary Care
Diagnostic errors occur often in primary care settings and can impact over 12 million outpatients annually. This is a top patient safety concern and a global burden. Significant patient harm can occur due to treatment delay, testing, or misdiagnosis. This course is an opportunity to promote awareness and visibility by identifying where these errors occur most often in the diagnostic process of care framework.
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.
Dec 02, 2020
The Role of Pretest Probability in the Evaluation of Suspected Venous Thromboembolism
The presenting signs and symptoms of venous thromboembolism are often vague and nonspecific, and early diagnosis—often crucial to the patient’s outcome—may be challenging.
The Doctor’s Advocate
Spotlight on Diagnosing PE/DVT
The overall incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) —including both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) —is one case per 1000 patient years. Accurate and timely diagnosis of VTE can be improved with the use of diagnostic guidelines such as Wells criteria and scoring for both DVT and PE.
Lessons Learned – Plastic Surgery Closed Claims Study: An Expert Analysis of Medical Malpractice Allegations
This course is based on the findings of a study conducted by The Doctors Company that analyzed 415 claims that closed against plastic surgeons (from July 2015–December 2018).
Medical Error Prevention
The purpose of this monograph and continuing medical education activity is to provide physicians with the most current information regarding the prevention of common performance and diagnostic errors.
Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing – Florida Edition
The Doctors Company recognizes the opioid epidemic in this country. This course provides insights into the risks of opioid usage, as shown by malpractice claims, and how to reduce those risks both for your patient and for your practice. Approved by the Florida Board of Medicine—Controlled Substance Prescribing.
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.
Cauda Equina Syndrome: A Failure to Diagnose
Failures of systems often prevent physicians from making timely diagnoses. Failures may result when patient assessments are incomplete, having a narrow diagnostic focus, or diagnostic test issues. Other factors that hinder timely diagnoses include failure to appreciate signs and symptoms, lack of consults, and failure to respond to repeated patient concerns/symptoms.
Sep 14, 2020
Hospitalist Closed Claims Study
This review of 238 closed hospitalist claims identifies top allegations and factors contributing to patient injury.
Telemedicine to Telehealth: Trends and Emerging Risks
This course explores challenges and risks such as privacy and security, licensure, and technology concerns that might instigate a malpractice claim. The risks overlay the inherent challenge of replicating the interaction of a traditional, in-person encounter between a provider and a patient, without compromising the standard of care. It also provides resources for clinicians and practice managers to consider when making decisions about deploying telehealth services or to improve existing services.
Aug 25, 2020
Distracting Devices in Healthcare: Malpractice Implications
Digital distraction in healthcare is a 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.
Aug 06, 2020
Miscommunication and Hurried Handoffs Threaten Patient Safety
Miscommunication and missed opportunities resulting from hurried handoffs can produce fatal results.
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.
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.
Jun 15, 2020
Safely Caring for the Hospitalized Patient with Obesity
Obesity is viewed as a chronic health condition, and patients with obesity pose patient safety issues.
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.
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.
Mar 23, 2020
Preventing Falls in Patients with Morbid Obesity: Case Study
It is imperative that hospitals provide employees with training and guidance that specifically addresses caring for morbidly obese patients.
Neurosurgery: Communications and System Failure Leading to Diagnostic Error (Claims Corner CME)
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.
Analysis of Medical Oncology Claims
An analysis of The Doctors Company's closed oncology claims reveals drivers related to diagnosis, care management, and medication management. In addition, the analysis identifies related drivers that are often the underlying reasons that patients file claims.
Mar 09, 2020
Patient Safety Strategies for Hospitalists
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.
Internal Medicine: When Personal Relationships Interfere with the Standard of Care
Physicians and dentists are often faced with the decision whether to treat friends and families without realizing the inherent risks in doing so. A review of one case will highlight some common circumstances and risks associated with the treatment of friends and family members.
Spotlight on Anesthesia Claims: Moving the Needle
In this course we will show how comorbidities complicated the delivery of good anesthesia care. And we will share how important a thorough history and physical is to identifying potential problems that occur in the administration of anesthesia care.
Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing - Georgia Edition
This three-hour learning activity provides instruction on controlled substance prescribing guidelines, recognizing signs of abuse or misuse of controlled substances, and controlled substance prescribing for chronic pain management, as delineated in Georgia Rule 360-15-.01. It also provides tools and resources to assist in educating staff and informing patients.
Prescribing Opioids Safely
Faced with an opioid-related epidemic that continues to bring addiction and deaths, it is important to define the role of opioids for both acute and chronic pain management. This activity spotlights the epidemic and presents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, regulations, studies, and emerging solutions to address the epidemic and allow for effective and appropriate use of these drugs.
Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing - Michigan Edition
This three-hour learning activity provides instruction on controlled substance prescribing guidelines, recognizing signs of abuse or misuse of controlled substances, and requirements delineated in Michigan’s law. It also provides tools and resources to assist in educating staff and informing patients.
Dec 01, 2019
Dilaudid-Related Morbidity and Mortality from Respiratory Depression
Patient safety organizations and the FDA are focusing on ways to reduce patient harm from opioids.
Nov 05, 2019
When Treating Kids, Learn from the Emergency Department
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.
Aug 27, 2019
Electronic Health Records Continue to Lead to Medical Malpractice Suits
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.
Advanced Practice Providers Closed Claims: What Can We Learn?
A recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that the U.S. would need an additional 95,900 doctors, 22,700 NPs, and 12,800 PAs immediately if healthcare use patterns were equalized across race, insurance coverage, and geographic location.
More understanding of the liability associated with APPs can help provide insight on the current situation and identify strategies that decrease risk, improve patient safety, and advance patient care.
Dementia Q&A: What Physicians Ask About Diagnosis and Treatment
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.
Jun 13, 2019
The Waning of the Physical Examination and Its Impact on Outcomes
The physical exam should remain a central tool for evaluating and managing patients.
The Doctor’s Advocate
Jun 13, 2019
An Analysis of Malpractice Claims by Physician Gender
A gender-specific analysis of 5,897 claims from six medical specialties.
The Doctor’s Advocate
Dementia Behavioral and Environmental Symptoms Management
The third course focuses on using the DICE (Describe, Investigate, Create Treatment Plan, and Evaluate) method to assess behavioral symptoms of dementia and to create effective treatment plans. The course also covers the careful use of medication during disease management, as well as common behavioral issues experienced by patients with dementia, including tools for management of these behaviors.
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.
Pharmacotherapy for Patients with Major Neurocognitive Disorder
This activity includes video lectures and is the fifth in a series of courses that seek to educate clinicians on standardized screening, evaluation, and disease management of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. This course focuses on the most frequently used prescription medications for Alzheimer's disease and dementias, the current research regarding its use, and guidelines for prescribing and discontinuing medication.
Dementia: Pharmacological Management of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms
This activity includes three video lectures and is the sixth in a series of courses that seek to educate clinicians on standardized screening, evaluation, and disease management of Alzheimer's and related dementias. This course focuses on the selection and appropriate usage of psychotropic prescription medications to manage the behavioral and psychological symptoms most frequently exhibited by patients with Alzheimer's and dementia diagnosis.
Physical Examination and Its Impact on Outcomes
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.
Neurological Case Study: Management of the Surgical Patient
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.
Dec 26, 2018
Mitigating the Risk of Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome
Insights into managing patients with severe hyponatremia.
The Doctor’s Advocate
May 24, 2018
Physician Learning Must Evolve to Keep Healthcare Workforce Prepared
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.
Dec 07, 2017
Teamwork Saves Lives in Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Shooting
Teams pull together to save lives and provide support during a deadly hospital shooting.
The Doctor’s Advocate
Video Jul 24, 2017
The Opioid Epidemic: A Closed Claims Analysis
Opioids play an important role in pain management—both in the acute and chronic settings. Unfortunately, the dramatic increase in opioid use over the past few decades has resulted in an opioid-related epidemic of addiction and death. To take a deeper look at the epidemic, The Doctors Company reviewed 272 malpractice claims in which patient harm involved opioids.
Video Jul 11, 2017
Hospitalists: Innovations in Patient Safety
John R. Nelson, MD, an internal medicine hospitalist at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington, describes important data and recommendations for patient safety revealed in The Doctors Company’s Hospitalist Closed Claims Study. The severity of injury is much higher in claims against hospitalists than those against other specialists.
Jun 06, 2017
Prescribing Opioids Safely
Dr. Howard Marcus discusses guidelines and recommendations for preventing opioid misuse and addiction in patients with acute or chronic pain.
The Doctor’s Advocate
Video Mar 03, 2016
Why Hospitalists Get Sued
A study of 464 claims against hospitalists that closed from 2007-2014 revealed leading patient allegations and the most common factors that lead to patient injury. The goals of the study were to alert hospitalists and patients to the most common risks and identify system weaknesses to encourage collaboration with hospital leadership to improve patient safety.