Many claims originate with patients who are not appropriate candidates for procedures. Having a well-planned and carefully executed patient selection process can help you identify patients who are good surgical candidates and those who may not be able to achieve satisfactory results.
During the patient’s first visit, take time to ask questions and document the answers. The following questions can help you assess prospective patients:
Assess the patient’s body language and behavior for signs that may warrant additional assessment by the doctor or an advanced practice provider. Below are examples of warning signs:
Remember, questions asked during the patient selection process do not replace the informed consent process. Issues may surface during the informed consent process that indicate the patient is not a good candidate for the elective procedure.
Many factors affect a surgical outcome. Office staff can contribute valuable information in the selection process. Listen when staff members voice “gut reactions” regarding a patient or a family member, and allow them to contribute to discussions of denial of care.
The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider considering the circumstances of the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.