Patient Relationships

Professional Education
Q&A - What Physicians Ask About Diagnosing and Treating Dementia
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
Addressing and Managing Behavioral and Environmental Symptoms of Dementia
The Alzheimer's Project Series
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.
1.25 Credits

Professional Education
Addressing Patients and Families with End of Life Planning, Effective Communications, and Resources
The Alzheimer's Project Series
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 Credits

Professional Education
Use of Pharmacotherapy for Patients with Major Neurocognitive Disorder
The Alzheimer's Project Series
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.
1.25 Credits

Professional Education
Pharmacological Management of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia
The Alzheimer's Project Series
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. This course activity includes three video lectures and covers the current research and guidelines for prescribing and for discontinuing use of these medications.
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 credit

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
Informed Consent in Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery
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

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
Communication, Claims, and Compliance Boot Camp
5/15/2019, Frisco, TX
Communication breakdowns in the physician-patient relationship and unforeseen gaps in compliance programs can greatly increase the odds of a malpractice claim. The comprehensive boot camp addresses common pitfalls associated with these malpractice risks and what you can do to protect your practice.

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

Feb 07, 2019
Guide to Managing Challenging Patient Relationships
How can you preserve a constructive physician-patient relationship when patients behave in difficult or unreasonable ways? This guide offers techniques for managing common patient scenarios, including potentially violent patients and/or family members, no-show patients, patients unable to pay, patients who don’t follow treatment plans, and more. Learn which situations call for patient termination—and the critical steps you should take to mitigate your malpractice risk.

Jan 28, 2019
Smile! The Doctor Is on Camera: The Pros and Cons of Recording Office Visits and Procedures
Rich Cahill, Vice President and Associate General Counsel
As smartphones have become ubiquitous—giving patients a video and audio recorder that’s always at hand—the question of whether or not these devices should be allowed in the clinic or hospital setting is becoming increasingly more common. The issue of allowing patients to record their appointments requires balancing potential privacy and liability risks with the potential benefits of improved patient recollection of instructions and treatment adherence.

Dec 20, 2018
Reduce Risks in Patient Handoffs: Signing Off and Signing Out
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.

Dec 01, 2018
Survey: Doctors Conflicted but Patients Still Top Concern
Bill Fleming, Chief Operating Officer
The Future of Healthcare Survey revealed a complicated picture about the attitudes of physicians towards the state of healthcare.

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 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.

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
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
How Healthcare Leaders Can Reduce Risks of Distracted Practice in Their Organization
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.
1.0 Credit

Jul 17, 2018
Violence in New York Hospitals: Liability Issues
Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel
Violence has become increasingly common in the workplace over the past decade, especially in the healthcare setting, and New York hospitals may face liability when people are injured on their premises.

Jun 05, 2018
Define Your Core Values, Transform Your Medical Practice
Brandon Betancourt, practice administrator for Salud Pediatrics in Chicago, describes how his practice defined core values to address challenges and provide optimal patient care.

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.

Apr 23, 2018
Physician Beats Burnout and Restores Quality of Life—with Scribes
Hans Haydon, MD, an internal medicine physician, was distressed that time-consuming EHR documentation was driving up his work hours and stress. With the use of a medical scribe, Dr. Haydon was able to restore productivity, quality interactions with patients, and work-life balance.

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 23, 2018
EHRs Can Advance Good Medicine―If Doctors Are Aware of the Risks
David B. Troxel, MD, Medical Director
Nearly all hospitals and 80 percent of medical practices use electronic health records, presumably to help improve access to health information and increase productivity. The problem is that none of these digital tools were designed specifically to advance the practice of good medicine.

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.

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
Physician-Patient 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.
1.0 Credit

Oct 24, 2017
Physicians Can Be at Risk When Homebound Patients Refuse Help
Robin Diamond, MSN, JD, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Physicians are focusing on treatment plans that include the kind of care patients need at home. However, physicians face potential liability when patients refuse help that is offered or neglect to follow up as instructed.

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
Making 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.
2.0 Credits

Professional Education
It's the Little Things: Enhancing Patient Relations
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.
1.25 Credits

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.

Jun 01, 2017
Patient Experience Survey (English)

Jun 01, 2017
Patient Experience Survey (Spanish)

Jun 01, 2017
Patient Experience Survey (Dental)

Feb 18, 2017
Up for Review: Five Keys to Managing Online Criticism
Kevin Pho, MD, Founder and Editor,
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.

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.

Video Jun 27, 2016
Evolving Patient-Facing Technologies
Patient-facing technologies are rapidly transforming. The federal government gave $30 billion to digitize the healthcare industry over the last five years, creating strong interest and advancements in health technology among technology companies. However, there are still things that must be worked out in order to ensure measurements in new tools are accurate, advice given to patients is appropriate, and that there is clear guidance when patients should see a doctor rather than manage their own care.

Video Jun 27, 2016
The Impact of Patient Portals
Patient portals are weaving together the doctors’ and patients’ electronic worlds, which is becoming increasingly important as the healthcare industry becomes digitized. The patient portal gives patients a look into the electronic health record (EHR) and enables them to do basic transactions such as scheduling appointments and requesting prescription refills. Currently, some patient portals even provide patients access to open notes, paving the way for all patient portals to provide this access in the future.

Video Jun 27, 2016
Democratizing Healthcare
Healthcare will soon be democratized as patients’ increased access to technology enables them to more easily manage their own healthcare. The positive side of the patient’s new role is that they can diagnose and treat minor issues, but the downside could be a patient not seeing a doctor when it’s necessary to see a credentialed expert.

Video Jun 27, 2016
The Patient's New Role in Healthcare
Technology is changing the role of patients in healthcare. In the future, patients will have more access to the same tools and information that doctors have, enabling them to manage their own care. While this technology and increased access to information can be beneficial, it can also create the illusion that patients don’t need to see a doctor and patients may decide they are going to completely manage their health outside the supervision of an expert.

Video Jun 27, 2016
How Wearables Are Changing Healthcare
Mobile technology, including wearables, apps, mobile devices, and sensors, are changing the relationship between physicians and patients, potentially reducing the need for office visits. Information from these devices could be sent to doctors for patient monitoring. But this technology also creates challenges for doctors.

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.

Video Apr 18, 2016
Patient Access to Healthcare
Physicians think of healthcare access as the number of openings in their schedules, but what does healthcare access mean to consumers?

Video Oct 27, 2015
Physicians as Online Information Curators
The healthcare landscape is evolving: 7 out of 10 Internet users access health information on the web. But this information is often unreliable. The problem today is not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of understanding of how to apply that knowledge. Doctors need to be able to filter this information for patients.

Video Sep 14, 2015
Physicians: How to Manage Online Criticism
Patients have more avenues than ever to express opinions online about their doctor, making it inevitable that a doctor will face criticism on the web. Here are tips for how doctors should respond.

Video Jun 23, 2015
Physician-Rating Sites: Friend or Foe?
The majority of online patient ratings are positive, and better than most doctors might think. Asking patients to rate you is a great way for you to leverage the visibility of physician-rating sites to establish an online reputation.

Video Jun 08, 2015
Establishing a Physician's Online Reputation
Doctors should establish their online reputations by using physician-rating sites, recommends Kevin Pho, MD, of, social media’s leading physician voice. These sites contain doctor profiles and are backed by companies with expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), meaning these profile pages will rank high when a patient Googles a doctor’s name.

Jun 01, 2015
Frequently Asked Questions: General Topics
Cynthia Morrison, RN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager.
Our experts answer questions about topics such as dictation, storage of medical records, and stolen prescription pads.

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.

Video Aug 19, 2014
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, 2014
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, 2014
Successful Patient Communication Techniques
Two techniques can help physicians communicate effectively with patients—and help patients better understand their treatment.

Video Aug 05, 2014
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.

Video Jul 08, 2014
How Culture Affects Patient Safety
No medical staff member wants to think that the care they provide is inadequate in any way. But using adverse events and case-based learning to illustrate how medical misadventures occur is a powerful way of demonstrating how care can be improved.

Video Jul 08, 2014
Easy Solutions for Improving Patient Care
When a medical error occurs, it's often because the system has broken down and needs to be improved. Using case-based learning from adverse events provides a framework for examining where the system broke down, how the system can be improved, and how the staff can be educated about a changed system.

Video Jun 24, 2014
Four Elements of Effective Communication
To teach physicians how to effectively communicate with patients, incorporate these four key elements: Simulate via standardized patients and role-playing, debrief to find out what worked and what didn't, video the encounters to show body language, and share communication experiences as they happen.

Video Jun 24, 2014
The Vital Skill All Physicians Must Have
Good communication skills are essential for effective and safe patient care. According to Dr. David Mayer of Medstar Health, communication training must be a part of the curriculum at medical schools and for residents.

Video Jun 24, 2014
Managing Difficult Conversations with Patients
Training physicians to communicate effectively in instances where a medical error occurs requires intensive training.

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.

Jun 26, 2012
Effective Informed Consent—Fostering a Dialogue
Effective informed consent requires a dialogue with the patient wherein they feel comfortable fully participating by asking clarifying questions and offering personal concerns.

Mar 28, 2012
Rx for Diagnosis
Focus on documentation and communication to help avoid breakdowns in the diagnostic process.

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.

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