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Archived Answers for Actions

These archived articles from ProAssurance first appeared in ISMA Reports. These articles discuss risk management issues you may encounter in your practice and offer helpful tips for addressing them. Refer to them often as a useful reference for you and your staff.”


April 11, 2016
What constitutes informed refusal?
I'm aware of the importance of obtaining informed consent from my patients, but what about informed refusal?

Feb. 10, 2016
Got a subpoena? Suggested steps
What personal health information are physicians required to disclose upon receiving a subpoena?


Sept. 8, 2015
Managing pain and minimizing risk
Adequate pain management seems to be a big issue today; opiate addiction rates seem to be increasing. Can you offer some risk management tips to employ?

July 13, 2015
Telephone tips to limit your risk for medical malpractice lawsuits
What suggestions can you offer for developing effective telephone procedures?

March 23, 2015
Use of a scribe calls for these risk-reduction strategies
When employing a scribe, what guidelines should I follow to minimize risk?

Jan. 26, 2015
Surveys are useful tools to help you measure patient satisfaction
I'm seeing patient hospital stays referred to as “the customer experience.” What do I need to know about patient satisfaction?


Dec. 15, 2014
Here's how you can avoid billing disputes with patients
What is the best way to avoid a billing dispute?

Oct. 6, 2014
Here are suggestions to handle patients who shouldn't be driving
What is my responsibility if I believe a patient shouldn't be driving?

July 28, 2014
Here are some tips for discerning drug-seeking behavior
How can I determine if a patient is a drug-seeker rather than someone with a genuine condition needing medication?

June 2, 2014
Here are recommendations to follow when a medical record is stolen
I still use paper records, for the most part; what do I need to know about stolen records?

April 7, 2014
Here are some suggestions for physician use of smartphones and apps
I am starting to use a smartphone and medical apps like Epocrates more and more. What are some risk management suggestions to keep in mind?

Feb. 10, 2014
Here's how to avoid pitfalls of audio-recorded patient visits
I'm concerned my patients may be recording visits, conversations without my knowledge. What can I do?


Dec. 9, 2013
Here is help for discerning drug-seeking behavior in your daily practice
What tips can you offer to help me determine if a patient is a drug-seeker rather than someone with a genuine or chronic condition needing medication?

Sept. 16, 2013
You can take steps to prevent or reduce negative online comments
I am concerned about “rate the doctor” websites because the information may be one-sided. How can I respond?

July 22, 2013
Take this risk management advice about patients injuring third parties
Can I be held responsible if one of my patients injures someone else after leaving my care?

May 28, 2013
Tracking and follow-up of test results: What you don't know can hurt you
What suggestions do you have for tracking and following up on test results?

April 1, 2013
Potential emergencies in office setting call for preparation, processes
I'm sure I should have certain processes in place in my practice – just in case an emergency arises – so, could you offer some suggestions?

Feb. 4, 2013
Non-compliant patients require more than just documentation
What tips can you offer regarding non-compliant patients?


Nov. 19, 2012
Want to terminate a patient relationship? Take these important steps
A variety of reasons can cause physicians to move to terminate a patient relationship – from persistent noncompliance and repeated failure to keep appointments to delinquent account status, or even combative or threatening behavior.

Sept. 17, 2012
Use these tips to help manage and resolve patient complaints
When a patient complains, what steps should physicians follow to address the complaints?

July 23, 2012
Use these tips to minimize your risk in e-communications
Electronic health records and electronic communications have associated risks. Could you provide some tips for managing those risks?

May 29, 2012
Ensure your patient portal complies with regulations
What suggestions do you have for operating a patient portal and ensuring confidentiality of patient information?

April 2, 2012
You decide to make the switch to EHR – now what?
What should I keep in mind – from a risk management perspective – as I adopt an electronic health record system?

Feb. 6, 2012
What to do when it's financial considerations versus clinical judgment
Can you suggest how to proceed when we encounter patients with conditions for which a third-party payer refuses approval or payment for care?


Nov. 24, 2011
Follow these pain management tips to reduce your risk
I am concerned about liability exposure regarding pain management;
can you offer any suggestions to reduce my risk with these patients?

Sept. 19, 2011
Here are suggestions for delegating tasks to your staff
What should I keep in mind when delegating tasks to my office staff?

July 25, 2011
Consider these risk management tips when implementing an EHR
As a result of the new health care law, I am evaluating electronic health record (EHR) systems. What do I need to consider from a risk management perspective?

May 31, 2011
Take these steps when patients leave the hospital against your advice
I've read there's a rise in patients leaving the hospital early, against medical advice. What do I need to keep in mind?

April 4, 2011
Here are reminders about your personal safety at work
I read often about patient safety – but what about physician safety?

Feb. 7, 2011
Performing procedures at an ASC? Assess your risk, Part III
If my practice uses Facebook only to offer directions to the office, scheduling and other information are there still risks involved?


Nov. 22, 2010
Follow these recommendations for a Facebook 'Fan' page
If my practice uses Facebook only to offer directions to the office, scheduling and other information are there still risks involved?

Sept. 20, 2010
Here’s some advice for Facebook 'friend requests'
I’ve received an an e-mail request from a patient who wants to add me as a friend on Facebook.
What do I do?

July 26, 2010
Performing procedures at an ASC? Be sure to assess your risk, Part II
What are the risks of associating with an ambulatory surgery center?

June 1, 2010
Performing procedures at an ASC? Be sure to assess your risk, Part I
What are the risks of associating with an ambulatory surgery center?

April 5, 2010
Anesthesia use comes with liability risks
As part of my practice, I sometimes perform invasive procedures such as biopsies, lipomas, sutures, etc. in the office setting. But I don’t use moderate or regional sedation. Am I still at risk of liability?

Feb. 8, 2010
Thinking about retirement? Here’re some things to consider
I will be retiring soon. What should I keep in mind, liability-wise, about closing my practice?


Nov. 23, 2009 lock
Exercise caution when hiring locum tenens physicians
What are the risks to consider when working with locum tenens physicians?

Sept. 21, 2009 lock
Dread giving bad news? Here’s some help
What suggestions do you have for giving patients bad news?

July 22, 2009 lock
Medical record theft - protect yourself and your practice
I read in the New York Times that in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, more than 250,000 Americans were affected by medical identity theft. Do you have tips to help me avoid theft?

May 26, 2009 lock
Here are tips for treating medical emergencies in the office
Sometimes we’re faced with unexpected medical emergencies in our office. From a risk management perspective, what should we be thinking about at those times?

March 30, 2009 lock
Maintain confidentiality if using social networking site

What cautions do you have for doctors using social networking sites??

February 2, 2009 lock
Your practice, the Internet and liability risks

I am interested in developing a Web site for my practice. Are there any guidelines I should follow to help reduce liability risks?


December 1, 2008 lock
Risk managers offer reminders to reduce medication errors
What are some measures our staff can employ to help prevent medication errors?

November 3, 2008 lock
Here are suggestions for times when patients can’t pay
What are my liability risks if a patient can’t pay for a test or treatment?

October 6, 2008 lock
Use tracking and follow-up to minimize risk with 'no shows'
What are my risks and responsibilities for no-show patients? I'm concerned about those who present for an appointment or two and never return.

August 25, 2008 lock
Use these tips when caring for patients who use nutritional supplements
What risk management suggestions do you have for treating patients who use nutritional supplements?

July 28, 2008 lock
Chest pain: Liability risk in the emergency department
I'm a new emergency room physician; what liability risks should I be aware of?

June 30, 2008 lock
Take action when records are stolen or destroyed
What should I do when records are damaged, lost or stolen?

June 2, 2008 lock
Protect yourself by setting reminders for renewals
Do you have suggestions to help me remember my malpractice policy renewal date?

May 5, 2008 lock
Keep these suggestions in mind when blogging
If I start blogging will I put my patients' privacy at risk?

April 7, 2008 lock
Online e-prescribing: Risk or asset?
Do any particular risks exist for physicians who do e-prescribing?

March 10, 2008
Disaster planning involves practice, practice, practice
Do you have some tips to help my practice get started with disaster planning?

February 11, 2008
Small towns present special risks regarding confidentiality
I live in a small town where "everyone knows everyone." Are there any special precautions I should take with the charts of patients known to my staff?

January 14, 2008
The stress of malpractice litigation
I’m now involved in some malpractice litigation and the experience is proving extremely stressful. What suggestions do you have to help me cope?


December 10, 2007
X-rays: To copy or not to copy
Can releasing original X-rays weaken the successful defense of a malpractice claim?

November 12, 2007
Back to Basics: Communicate your way to effective patient relationships
I've read that communication affects your medical malpractice threat; is that true?

October 15, 2007
Here's how to proceed when you've prescribed a recalled drug
Am I at risk because drugs I prescribed in the past have now been recalled?

September 4, 2007
Discussing a difficult topic: allegations of sexual harassment, misbehavior
In trying to cover all the bases, what tips can you give me for protecting myselft against allegations of sexual harassment?

August 6, 2007
Tips to discern drug-seeking behavior
How can I determine if a patient isa drug-seeker rather than someone with a genuine condition?

July 9, 2007
Tips for ending patient/physician relationships
What steps should I take to minimize my risk when terminating a patient?

June 11, 2007
Terminate patient/physician relationship with caution
What steps whould I take to terminate a patient, yet minimize my risk?

May 14, 2007
EHRs raise new risk management concerns
We're beginning to implement an electronic health record. Are there risks with this technology?

April 16, 2007
Don't fall into an e-mail 'trap':
What cautions do you have about using e-mail to send laboratory results to patients?

March 19, 2007
Proper triage protocols can reduce risk:
Do you have some tips I can pass along to my staff about proper triaging of phone calls?

Feb. 20, 2007
Print, dictate, fill in the blanks to avoid penmanship errors and reduce risk:
Should I be worried that my penmanship is putting me at risk?

Jan. 22, 2007
Risk managers weigh in on financial considerations versus clinical judgment:
How can I stay out of trouble yet advocate for patients when their insurers refuse to pay?


Dec. 18, 2006
Make handling complaints an important risk-management step:
What should my staff and I do to really manage complaints?

Nov. 20, 2006
Potential emergencies in the office call for preparation:
How can we be better prepared to handle a sudden crisis in our office?

Oct. 23, 2006
Know what to document when patients refuse treatment:
What constitutes “informed refusal?”

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