Q: What should I keep in mind when delegating tasks to my office staff?
A: An important point to remember is that in the state of Indiana, a physician may delegate any task, aside from surgery, to an office staff member. There is a gray area, however, and that is whether some laser procedures qualify as surgery.
Some tasks are inappropriate for a staff member to perform, and physicians should identify those types of tasks based on an employee’s capabilities, the risk associated with the task and supervision required.
Other risk management suggestions to keep in mind are:
- Establish procedures to ensure all professional staff are credentialed and re-credentialed.
- Educate all employees on patient confidentiality and have them sign an agreement to maintain that confidentiality.
- Establish a formal orientation period for new employees and include a review of administrative practices, emergency medical procedures, and clinical skills and responsibilities.
- Prepare written job descriptions for all staff, and ensure all staff members review their job descriptions. Address the job description at each annual performance evaluation.
- Ensure tasks are delegated to staff with the appropriate education, training and experience to perform the task.
- Provide clear instructions on the type and amount of medical advice they may relate to patients.
- Hold regular staff meetings with designated agendas.
- Provide staff frequent feedback – both positive and negative.
Physicians insured by ProAssurance may contact our Risk Management department for prompt answers to liability questions by calling (800) 292-1036 or via email.