Risk Management Tools & Resources


Using Plain Language to Support Patient Engagement and Patient-Centered Care

A significant hurdle in patient-centered care is effective communication throughout the care process. If patients do not understand their diagnoses, test results, recommended treatment plans, and follow-up instructions, they cannot fully participate in their care.

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Avoiding Allegations of Negligent Referral

Referring patients to specialists is common in both dental and medical practice. In fact, making appropriate referrals is a recommended risk strategy to avoid poor outcomes that result from practicing outside of one’s scope of expertise. However, healthcare providers can be accused of “negligent referral” if they refer patients to specialists who mishandle the patients’ cases and cause injuries.

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Case Study: Failures in Practice Management Lead to Serious Patient Injury

Effective management of healthcare practices through implementation of thorough policies and procedures, staff training, and competency assessment is crucial to ensure patient satisfaction and prevent adverse events. This case, which concerns a chemotherapy overdose resulting in severe immunosuppression and hospitalization, illustrates what can happen when practice management is lax, administrators fail to document and enforce employee disciplinary actions, and policies and procedures are inadequate or not followed.

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The Essential Elements of Informed Consent

Informed consent is a legal and ethical principle that supports disclosing important information to patients so they can understand proposed treatments and fully participate in their care. The basis of informed consent rests on the principle of autonomy, which recognizes the right of individuals to make decisions regarding their healthcare.

The thoroughness and complexity of the informed consent process will depend on the type of procedure or treatment involved. Minor procedures — such as the removal of a minor skin lesion or the filling of caries — may require only a simple discussion of risks. However, as procedures become more complex or have a greater degree of risk, the consent process should be more comprehensive.

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10 Strategies for Responding to State Board Complaints and Inquiries

Throughout their careers, and in the course of providing patient care, healthcare providers are exposed to liability risk. One type of risk that providers face is inquiries from state boards as a result of complaints about negligent practice or unethical or illegal behavior. These complaints might come from patients, their families, other providers, the state attorney general’s office, media reports, and so on. In some cases, complaints to the board also might coincide with malpractice lawsuits.

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15 Essential Risk Management Strategies for General Surgeons

General surgeons face various risks in day-to-day practice. Adverse outcomes related to surgical treatment, diagnosis, and medical treatment can result from numerous factors, including issues with technical competency, clinical judgment, communication, documentation, and more.

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10 Ways Healthcare Providers Can Tackle Burnout and Improve Self-Care

Burnout in healthcare is rampant, and it is not limited to one clinical setting or a particular type of provider. Rather, feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, pessimism, detachment, and ineffectiveness can take a grip on healthcare providers of various ages, backgrounds, and specialties and have far-reaching consequences.

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Improving Health Equity and Addressing Bias in Pain Management

Bias in healthcare is a persistent issue, both at an institutional and individual level. The downstream effect of this problem is evident in negative outcomes and health disparities for various populations. In particular, issues of bias have been noted in research focusing on variances in pain management. Studies have shown that:

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