Risk Management Tools & Resources


10 Strategies for Communicating Effectively With Senior Care Residents

The question of how to communicate effectively has persisted in healthcare for years. Communication has long been recognized as a complex process that is prone to errors, oversights, and misunderstandings. In terms of patient safety and malpractice risk, the implications of inadequate or poor communication are substantial.

In 2018, CRICO Strategies released a report that presented the results from an analysis of almost 124,000 medical professional liability cases filed between 2007 and 2016. CRICO’s data showed that communication issues, which were found in all care settings, were one of the top contributing factors in malpractice cases.1 An earlier CRICO report found that 37 percent of all high-severity cases involved a communication failure.2

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Avoiding Social Media Blunders With Proactive Risk Management Policies

Without doubt, social media’s ease, flexibility, and convenience offer various opportunities to enhance the dissemination of health information and communication between patients and healthcare providers. Like any type of technology, though, social media can create safety and risk issues if it is not used responsibly. Further, because social media changes rapidly, standards and best practices are not always well-defined.

Consider the following three case examples that illustrate how communicating with patients, or about patients, on social media can be problematic.

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Case Study: Failure to Diagnose Myocardial Infarction Leads to Tragic Outcome

A 47-year-old female presented to her local emergency department (ED) on a Saturday evening with complaints of shoulder discomfort, back pain, nausea, dizziness, and chest tightness. The woman reported that she had spent the morning working in her garden and then attended a family cookout.

An ECG was ordered, and the results were negative. The patient was not referred for further cardiac testing because the emergency physician felt that muscle strain and acid reflux were the cause of the patient's symptoms.

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15 Tips for Reducing Risks Related to Medical Spa and Cosmetic Services

Medical aesthetics is a growing and lucrative industry, and the global medical spa (medi-spa) market is projected to reach about $27.6 million by 2025.1 Various types of healthcare providers are offering spa and cosmetic services at dedicated medi-spas or as ancillary services in healthcare practices. Services are wide-ranging and include botulinum toxin injections, chemical peels, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, liposuction, dermal fillers, skin rejuvenation, microblading, body contouring, and more.

The appeal of providing spa and cosmetic services can be multifold for healthcare providers. With rising overhead costs, decreased reimbursement, and increased administrative burdens, these services can boost profitability and potentially allow practitioners to spend more time with patients. The addition of spa and cosmetic services also can increase patient satisfaction, particularly for patients who enjoy the convenience of multiple services at one location or who prefer to have their healthcare providers render such services. Additionally, providers may find it fulfilling to learn new techniques and broaden their scopes of practice.

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Eight Strategies for Creating a Culture of Safety for Midwives

The United States is facing a maternity healthcare provider shortage. What may reverse this trend is a robust and more diverse workforce of midwives educated through professionally accredited midwifery education programs.1

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of nurse-midwives is projected to grow 26 percent between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.2

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Promoting Patient Dignity in Healthcare

Humans have an intrinsic need for dignity as a basic element of well-being. Yet, the concept of dignity can be somewhat nebulous and its defining features can vary across societies, cultures, and individuals.

In the context of healthcare, dignity often is defined as a multifaceted approach to patient interactions that involves the elements of respect, autonomy, empowerment, safety, communication, privacy, acceptance, acknowledgment, fairness, and more.1

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Addressing Cultural Competence as an Element of Health Literacy and Patient-Centered Care

Inadequate health literacy is a well-known communication issue facing patients and their healthcare providers. Patients' inability to properly receive, process, understand, and act on health information can result in a host of problems, including uninformed decision-making, nonadherence, poor outcomes, and lack of trust in the healthcare community. Inadequate health literacy also can lead to misunderstandings and mismanagement of patient expectations, which can increase liability risk for healthcare providers.

Strategies for addressing health literacy often target patient comprehension and involve speaking clearly, avoiding jargon, using words that patients understand, reducing redundancy and ambiguity, and so forth. Although these strategies are crucial, another critical element of effective communication — cultural competence — is overlooked at times.

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Protecting Patient Confidentiality: A Legal and Ethical Obligation

Trust is a fundamental element of the provider–patient relationship, and building trust helps ensure that patients disclose accurate and thorough health information to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel. In turn, healthcare providers and staff members have an ethical and legal responsibility to protect patient confidentiality and prevent unauthorized disclosure of patients' protected health information (PHI).

Both state and federal laws address patient confidentiality and release of health information. Some state laws are more specific than federal laws about certain aspects of confidentiality, such as the definition of an emancipated minor or information pertaining to the treatment of mental illness. Providers and staff members should understand these legal requirements and their role in upholding them.

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