Risk Management for Health Care Practitioners

Professional Behavior

Treat patients with care and respect and always maintain professional behavior. According to the Indian Health Service's Risk Management Manual, patients are less likely to sue a practitioner that has a professional demeanor and takes the time to develop a relationship with the patient.

Charting

Write legibly on your charts and be thorough. Note any information that may be of importance, including patient compliance with medical orders and other relevant details. Charts are the primary written record of what occurred with a patient. While memories fade, written notes will still be available for months or years to come.

Get Proper Consent

Be certain to explain all medical procedures and obtain proper consent, preferably in writing. Keep thorough records of all consent. You may need to prove that a procedure was explained to a patient and that the patient agreed to receive a particular form of care.

Do Not Make Promises

Do not promise patients a particular outcome or give them false hope when the circumstances do not support it. It is your place as a medical practitioner to educate the patient in regards to their medical diagnoses and prepare them for all possible outcomes. Risk management for health care practitioners includes any steps that reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit, complaint or misunderstanding with a patient. By minimizing risk, you lessen the chances of having to pay out of pocket or through insurance for malpractice claims that likely could have been avoided.