Every year there are an average of almost 90,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the U.S. alone, and many of these cases result in losses for the healthcare provider involved. An organization or physician accused of malpractice stands to lose more than just money, as such a judgment could also affect their reputation. For this reason, health administration jobs require people who can proactively prevent misunderstandings, recognize and correct errors, and keep track of records and communication. In addition to those basic responsibilities, here are four steps healthcare administrators typically take to avoid malpractice lawsuits:
1. Ensure the Accuracy of Case Files and Databases
As you can imagine, administrators in the medical field have to oversee the management of hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other healthcare facilities – all of which maintain extensive patient databases. While studying for an MHA at Ohio University, I learned the smallest mistake or discrepancy could lead to a costly mishap that could result in a lawsuit, which is why it’s imperative to pay attention when learning about software and file maintenance procedures.
Have a Thorough Understanding of the EHR System
The electronic health record (EHR) system provides an amazing convenience and collaboration tool for physicians and hospitals, but it also presents a significant risk when improperly used, especially in the billing and drug administration departments. Over-billing a patient or giving them the wrong medication due to EHR errors could lead to grievances that ultimately result in a malpractice claim being filed or an audit being conducted.
3. Encourage and Practice Clear Communication
Many of the mistakes that lead to malpractice stem from poor or insufficient communication. Healthcare administrators need to be good at communicating with staff and teaching them how to better communicate with each other. Failing to disclose pertinent details or accidentally saying something inaccurate could lead to an avoidable mistake or omission that carries serious consequences.
4. Remind Staff to Take All Patient Concerns Seriously
People applying for administrative positions in a healthcare setting should remember that their superiors are looking for attentive and compassionate individuals. In other words, any managerial employee in a healthcare facility should strive to help their physicians and nurses understand the importance of giving strong consideration to every patient concern or question and treating every patient with respect and kindness. Although there will be patients that exaggerate their symptoms or ask silly questions, it’s the physician’s job to make them feel comfortable throughout treatment. The last thing you want to do is overlook something that winds up turning into a huge problem.
Paying Attention to Detail and Holding People Accountable
One of the most difficult parts of the job is respectfully keeping co-workers in line when they also carry a degree and clout. Being able to spot the smallest errors, correct them, and hold whoever made the mistake accountable so that they won’t make the same mistake again, are all steps that might eventually need to be taken by a healthcare administrator looking to avoid malpractice lawsuits.