APMA News - February 2011 - (Page 28)

I Insurance Advisor I An Ounce of Prevention By WilliaM F MunSEy, DPM guage. They may not know medical terms you use and may feel awkward asking questions. However, patients do not want you to talk down to them. 4. Use the patient’s name throughout the conversation. time to evaluate how you best use your time with each patient. QUESTION: I read every issue of the Insurance Advisor and find it very helpful. It keeps me informed about current trends in malpractice defense as well as how to avoid making errors. I would like to see more information about the role relationships play in avoiding a lawsuit. Would you share your thoughts on this subject? ANSWER: Psychologists have conducted numerous studies showing that patients sue doctors because they are upset rather than because of poor results. How we relate to the patient and his or her family when a problem occurs seems to be more important than the severity of the problem. Most of us have been confronted with a less-than-perfect result that could have ended in a malpractice case but have been spared that fate because of the good rapport established with the patient. The opposite can also occur, wherein a near-perfect result ends in a legal nightmare. Meg Heim of BioMedix Vascular Solutions asked patients how a doctor can put them at ease and establish good twoway communication. She uncovered several steps patients would like doctors to take to improve communication: 1. Speak slowly and distinctly. Patients do not want to feel rushed. 2. Repeat the message frequently. Patients are nervous, intimidated, and scared. They may not hear the message the first time. Have the patient repeat the message back to you. 3. Use simple, nontechnical words. Your language is not their lan28 QUESTION: In last month’s column, you discussed the importance of documenting in the patient’s record the fact that you discussed the potential ramifications of refusal of your proposed treatment. Are there other areas that should be included in an informed consent? ANSWER: An informed consent is predicated on the duty of the doctor to inform a patient of material information. “Material information” is information that a practitioner knows, or ought to know, that would be significant to a reasonable person in the patient’s position in deciding whether or not to submit to a particular medical treatment or procedure. With these facts in mind, the following information should be discussed with the patient and documented in the medical record: 1. The nature of the patient’s illness, the diagnosis, the proposed treatment plan, and prognosis. 2. A description of the recommended procedure or treatment and its purpose. 3. The probable outcome, particularly if it is difficult to predict, and the patient’s expected postprocedure course of treatment. 4. The most likely risks, side effects, and potential complications, as well as the potential benefits of the procedure or treatment. 5. Reasonable alternative methods of treatment or nontreatment, including the risks, benefits, complications, and prognosis associated with each alternative and with nontreatment. n Most of us have been confronted with a lessthan-perfect result that could have ended in a malpractice case but have been spared that fate because of the good rapport established with the patient . The opposite can also occur, wherein a near-perfect result ends in a legal nightmare . 5. Reinforce oral communication with written or printed descriptions. Patients will only absorb about 20 percent of what they hear. 6. Ask for the patient’s input regarding his or her diagnosis and treatment. 7. Inform patients about services provided by the practice. Also, inform patients about relevant services outside the practice. Our greatest issue is time. To compensate for reduced reimbursement, we are pressured to see more patients in order to maintain our incomes, resulting in less time for each patient. This time pressure means strained relationships with our patients. Perhaps now is a good APMA News l February 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of APMA News - February 2011

APMA News - February 2011
Contents
In Short
President’s Message
A New Era in APMA Communications
Model Fee-Parity Law Now Available
Looking Forward to 2011 with ASPS
Nadia Sadeghi: A Long Road to Podiatric Medicine
Destination Boston: 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting
Annual Scientific Meeting Registration Form
Insurance Advisor
2011 Call for Awards Nominations
Members Who Know Media
CPME Update
Federal Advocacy Forum
Young Members Update
Coding Update
Talking Practice Enhancement
IT Consultant
New Members
Death Notices
In Memoriam: John Carson
Worthy of Note
Resolutions Submissions
Development Update
APMAPAC Update
Classified Advertising
Dates to Remember
Advertising Index

APMA News - February 2011

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