Risk Management Tools & Resources

 

Toxic Behaviors: Addressing Patient Bias and Discrimination

Bias and discrimination are unfortunate realities that affect many social institutions, including healthcare. Research and literature about bias in healthcare often focus on how clinicians’ cognitive and implicit biases can undermine provider–patient relationships, lead to poor diagnostic and treatment decisions, negatively affect patient outcomes, and perpetuate health inequities and disparities.

But what happens when healthcare providers face discriminatory behaviors from patients? This problem has received more attention in recent years for numerous reasons, including increased scrutiny of race relations in the United States, the dire need to improve the mental and physical well-being of healthcare workers, and a growing emphasis on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the healthcare environment.

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Exploring Diagnosis-Related Allegations in Otolaryngology Claims: The Complexities of Clinical Reasoning

Diagnostic errors are a persistent issue in healthcare, and they are a top liability risk for many medical specialties. A review of 10 years of malpractice claims data for otolaryngology shows that diagnosis-related allegations account for slightly more than a quarter of claims.1

Although the volume of diagnosis-related claims is significantly lower than the volume of claims for the top allegation category in otolaryngology — surgical treatment and procedures — these cases still can be consequential in terms of poor patient outcomes and total dollars paid (i.e., expense and indemnity dollars).

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Administrative Strategies for Preventing the Transmission of Infectious Diseases

The healthcare community has long considered infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies critical to patient safety, worker safety, and overall public health. The significance of these measures is even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for future infectious disease outbreaks.

Often, IPC efforts focus on following standard precautions and transmission-based precautions, appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), sterilizing and disinfecting reusable equipment, using safe injection techniques, and implementing best practices for antibiotic stewardship.

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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 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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Reducing Risks Associated With Electronic Signatures

Accurate and thorough documentation is vital in healthcare; it provides essential patient information, historical details about the course of patient care, and a record of services provided. Healthcare providers’ signatures are a crucial part of documentation; they carry authority to authorize tests and services, and they attest to the authenticity and accuracy of patient records. Thus, protecting the integrity of provider signatures is imperative.

Prior to the large-scale implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) and other electronic systems, healthcare providers typically ink signed or stamped documentation to provide authorization, take responsibility for authorship, or confirm the veracity of information. During these times, safeguarding physician signatures involved strategies such as preventing forgery, securing signature stamps, and limiting access to prescription pads.

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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 $26.72 billion by 2027.1 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.

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Acknowledging Cultural Competence as a Key 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 to treatment plans, 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.

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What Dentists Should Know About Medical Clearance

As people are living longer, it is likely that they will develop medical conditions over time that might be problematic for their dental care. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that dentists obtain, review, and update their patients’ health history at each visit. Dentists also should obtain complete medication lists from patients for all care, including routine oral healthcare.

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