Risk Management Tools & Resources

 


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-patient-safety-financial-implications

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

Jeanne E. Mapes, JD, CPCU, CPHRM

managing-difficult-patients

Case Details

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

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

managing-difficult-patients

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.

Various factors may contribute to lack of sepsis awareness and delays in diagnosis. First, the terms and definitions associated with sepsis have changed over the years, and lack of standardization has led to multiple definitions in use at the same time. Additionally, identification criteria associated with the terminology and definitions also have varied.2

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The Challenge of Difficult Patients: Risk Management Strategies for Handling Inappropriate Patient Behaviors

Difficult patients represent one of the most challenging situations that doctors and other healthcare professionals encounter. Dealing with these patients can be emotionally and mentally draining — as well as increasingly frustrating — for practitioners and their staff members.

Additionally, inappropriate patient behaviors can compromise the provider-patient relationship, and patients might be at increased risk for misdiagnosis and more likely to have negative outcomes.1 Difficult patients also might be more likely to file a lawsuit as a result of perceived negative encounters.

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Nonverbal Communication as an Essential Element of Patient-Centered Care

Effective verbal communication is the bedrock of high-quality, patient-centered care. Healthcare providers undoubtedly are aware of the continued emphasis and importance placed on verbal communication through various quality measures and standards. However, good nonverbal communication — facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice — also is essential. Research suggests that the majority of daily communication is nonverbal, which stresses the importance that this aspect of communication plays in human interactions.1

The ability to understand and use nonverbal communication, or body language, is a powerful tool that can help healthcare professionals connect with patients in a positive way and reinforce mutual understanding and respect.2

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Record Retention Basics for Healthcare Practices

Healthcare practices generate and maintain many different types of records, including patient health records and business records. These records help each organization maintain critical information and deliver quality services and care.

To protect records, healthcare practices should develop and implement formal record retention policies and procedures. Doing so will help establish a systematic and organized approach to record management. Further, formal policies and procedures may help defend against allegations of spoliation — i.e., that records were deliberately or maliciously destroyed.

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