Risk Management Tools & Resources


The Power of Words: Using Language to Support Collaborative Provider–Patient Relationships

The impact of language — both written and verbal — can be profound. Words create meaning, which can shape individuals’ understanding, feelings, interactions, decisions, and so forth. In healthcare, written and verbal communication are the crux of the provider–patient relationship, and they are paramount to patient outcomes and experience.

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The Rise and Risks of Healthcare Influencers

Healthcare influencers have become a popular source of health information online, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Influencers use their online presence on social media platforms to not only educate and generate interest on healthcare topics, but also combat misinformation. Social media is an ideal way for them to reach more people than they could on an average workday.

The United States has approximately 302 million social media users.1 It is clear that healthcare influencers have a huge potential audience, which makes them a powerful tool for healthcare promotion. In addition to posting about healthcare, influencers also may partner with companies to endorse specific products and brands.

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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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