Risk Management New Year's Resolutions

We’re a few days into 2013 and you’ve probably been able to keep your New Year’s resolutions so far. But if you haven’t, or if you haven’t made any and you need some suggestions, you’ve come to the right place. Here are PRMS’ recommendations for 2013 resolutions…

1. I will have an understanding of what is required by the HIPAA regulations, such as the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule.

2. I will try to document my decision-making process so that the exercise of my professional judgment is clear.

3. I will be willing to consult with a colleague or colleagues when unsure about what actions to take regarding a patient. Experienced fellow practitioners are a good resource for confirming the standard of care.

4. I will confirm the credentials and professional liability insurance coverage for practitioners whom I employ and/or work with before they start treating patients.

5. I will notify my professional liability insurance underwriter of any changes occurring in my staffing or practice. Such changes may affect my coverage, and I will need to discuss them with my underwriter.

6. I will obtain the necessary informed consent before beginning treatment and/or prescribing medications. I will remember that informed consent is a continuous process, not simply a form. The informed consent will be documented in the medical record. The documentation will reflect that the patient was informed about the nature of the treatment; the risks, benefits, and potential side-effects of the treatment; any alternatives to the treatment; the risks and benefits of these alternatives; and the risks and benefits of not obtaining treatment.

7. I will specifically discuss the nature of an off-label use with the patient when prescribing off-label.

8. I will periodically review the treatment plan with patients to assess the patient’s level of understanding and agreement to the treatment plan.

9. I will maintain as part of the medical record copies of written instructions and educational materials provided to the patient.

10. I will call my professional liability carrier with my risk management questions and concerns.

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