Risk Management Tools & Resources

 


Overcoming Telehealth Barriers and Engaging Older Adults in Virtual Care

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

telehealth-barriers-for-older-adults

If 2020 offered any silver lining at all for healthcare, one could easily argue that it was telehealth. In the wake of COVID-19, as healthcare practices around the country closed their physical doors altogether or limited access to emergency services only, telehealth offered a virtual gateway that became instrumental to continuity of care for patients and economic viability for practices.

Yet, as indispensable as telehealth has been since March of 2020, it mirrors other aspects of healthcare in creating disparities. Certain populations have not been able to take advantage of virtual care in the same way as others, for numerous reasons. Older adults are one of the groups at a disadvantage. This article examines the barriers that prevent many older adults from participating fully in telehealth and offers practical strategies that healthcare providers can implement to address these issues.

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LEAPing to Better Complaint Management in Healthcare Practices

managing-patient-complaints-leap

Dealing with customer dissatisfaction is a reality in every industry, and healthcare is no different. Even healthcare practices that are extremely diligent about patient experience and satisfaction will most likely encounter patient complaints on occasion. For this reason, practices should implement a complaint process that all providers and staff members can understand and follow. Every employee should be prepared to manage patient complaints promptly and according to office protocol.

When a complaint occurs, providers and staff should respond calmly and empathetically, while reassuring the patient that someone is available to help resolve the problem or issue. One simple set of recommendations for complaint management is a common customer service strategy called LEAP, which stands for:

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When Patient Phobias Turn Into Medical Emergencies

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

patient-phobias-medical-emergencies

Patient anxiety or fear related to medical or dental treatment can be problematic and concerning in various ways. These fears may manifest as nonadherence to treatment protocols or appointments schedules, behavioral issues, or — in extreme cases — medical emergencies. The case studies below offer two examples of how patient anxiety and fear contributed to medical emergencies.

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Using Pain Management Agreements as a Tool to Promote Patient Adherence to Treatment

Using Pain Management Agreements as a Tool to Promote Patient Adherence to Treatment

Patients who suffer from chronic pain can be particularly challenging to successfully treat. In addition to finding the optimal course of treatment, issues related to patient adherence with treatment plans can be problematic. Thus, healthcare providers who prescribe pain medications might want to consider using pain management agreements to set standards and expectations related to care and treatment and to reinforce the importance of adhering to treatment regimens.

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The Toll of Adverse Patient Outcomes on Healthcare Providers: Supporting Second Victims

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

disruptive-behavior-patient-safety-financial-implications

Any approach related to managing adverse outcomes in healthcare, including medical errors, should prioritize patients who are affected by these situations. Patients are considered the "first victims" of adverse outcomes, and healthcare organizations and providers have a duty to provide them with truthful information, follow-up care, and emotional support.

Adverse outcomes also can have a traumatic effect on others involved, including healthcare providers and staff. The term "second victims" was coined to describe healthcare providers involved in adverse patient outcomes who feel traumatized by the events. These providers may experience feelings of blame, anger, shame, failure, depression, inadequacy, and distress.1

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The Patient Safety and Financial Implications of Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive behavior among healthcare providers and staff is widespread in healthcare settings, from large health systems to small healthcare practices. In a survey of more than 800 physicians and physician leaders, more than 70 percent of participants said that disruptive physician behavior occurs at least once a month at their organizations, and more than 10 percent of participants said that such incidents occur on a daily basis.1

The negative consequences of disruptive behavior are far reaching. These behaviors can affect staff morale, focus/concentration, collaboration, communication, and information transfer.2 Thus, from a broad perspective, disruptive behavior can have both patient safety and financial implications.

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CASE STUDY: Failure to Identify Sepsis and Initiate Treatment Leads to Patient Death

The patient in this case was a 49-year-old female who had a significant medical history, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Her surgical history included placement of two coronary stents and vascular surgery on her left leg.

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Improving Identification and Management of Sepsis in Outpatient Settings

Sepsis is a debilitating, life-threatening, and costly condition that represents a persistent challenge to healthcare providers in terms of early diagnosis and management. Although sepsis is a leading cause of death in the United States1 and a significant burden on patients and healthcare organizations, knowledge about — and recognition of — the condition is still problematic among many healthcare professionals and the public.

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