With each passing year, the medical field makes new discoveries and advancements to increase the level of care we receive when we visit our physicians. As the availability of information and technology increases for providers, it changes lives, lifelines, and treatment plans for countless individuals. When medical care is done right, it gives us hope and faith in our doctors and their ability to care for and improve the lives of those in their charge.
Unfortunately, miscommunication and errors can occur within any practice, so it is important for both patients and providers to take steps to prevent malpractice claims. We have outlined below ways to minimize medical malpractice claims and improve the quality of care given and received.
Build Relationships & Create Trust
From a customer service perspective, good healthcare begins and ends with building relationships and trust between a patient and their physician. As patients, we put faith in our providers to offer honest care and personalized treatments. It is the expectation to receive care underlined with concern, kindness, and respect.
Providers are charged with offering patients a space and relationship where they feel open and comfortable sharing information about their bodies and health. While each provider may care for dozens of patients each day, one of the most important things they can do to foster great patient relationships is to make every individual in their care feel as if they are the only priority.
Communication is Key
While medical errors do occur, in many cases, medical malpractice suits are filed due to poor communication and misunderstanding between the patient and provider, making your interactions all the more important.
A good doctor will advocate for you, your health, and your right to the treatment you deserve. While it can be embarrassing and hard, it is important to provide your doctor with an honest assessment of how you are feeling or responding to treatments or their recommendations. It is important to ask questions and for clarification when needed. You know more than anyone what it’s like living with your body, mind, and spirit — your doctor cannot provide accurate care unless you are being open and honest in what you are experiencing.
In return, physicians must take steps to establish strong relationships with their patients. This requires patience and understanding — patients often need help to understand the cause/effect relationship of the care and treatments they receive. By focusing on fostering positive connections with patients, it creates an encouraging, honest, and empathetic relationship between both patient and provider.
Your Doctor is Human Too
While your physician is an expert in their field — they have the degrees and time spent to prove it — it is important to remember they are also human, and sometimes they make mistakes. This is not to say your doctor should be unprofessional, rude to you, or careless in their work. However, it is vital to remember they have their own worries, life, and family outside of the office or hospital. Compassion is a two-way street and it can make all the difference in ensuring you receive the care and treatment you deserve.
Use EHR & Online Portal to Your Advantage
The incorporation of electronic health records (EHR) and online systems into facilities is usually a positive move for both patients and providers alike. It allows providers to easily share notes and comments with outside specialists and can provide patients with a portal to view their health records, request medication refills, and communication with their physicians, and so on.
Each of these systems is designed to improve efficiency within a practice or hospital while providing patients access to their records and notes from their doctor. When used properly, EHR offer complete records of a patient’s care, the recommendations provided, and actions taken to help improve their health and wellbeing. When physicians record comprehensive notes and evaluations, it can aid them in the event they are sued for malpractice.
However, it is important for providers to remember these are just tools and using an EHR system cannot replace developing a bond with your patient. It is common for patients to feel their doctor spends too much time typing notes on the computer, rather than speaking with them about what they are experiencing. While taking notes is important, making sure your patient feels heard is just as vital.
Defending Your Rights in a Medical Malpractice Case
No one wants to be involved in a medical malpractice case, but if you need legal representation, Chiariello & Chiariello is here to help. For two generations, our family-owned law firm has helped families and individuals across Long Island and New York City defend their rights and work towards financial recovery after medical negligence. We represent clients in highly complicated medical malpractice cases and truly advocate for their needs.