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Male patient talking to female doctor

Patient Selection: Can This Patient Be Managed?

As a professional, you can do everything right and still get sued. One way to mitigate your risk is through patient selection.

Patient selection is commonly associated with a patient’s appropriateness for a procedure. You go through a mental checklist to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure, based on the patient’s presentation, history, etc. 

However, before taking this step, consider whether the patient is even a good fit for your practice.

The foundation of a doctor/patient relationship is trust, supported through good communication. The building blocks of trust and communication lead to improved healthcare decisions and outcomes. Without this foundation, you could be setting yourself up for a difficult relationship.

A couple areas of consideration:

Your Expectations 

  • How will your patients participate in the care you provide? 
  • Will the patient cooperate in and with your treatment plan? 
    • If not, documentation and patient education are paramount. 
    • Do you have the patience, time and desire to take extra steps in this area? 

Previous Treatment History

  • If the patient has been to multiple other providers, this is a red flag. 
  • Can you provide treatment that is different or better than the other providers? 
  • Are all necessary prior treatment records available to you prior to you initiating any treatment? 
  • If the patient has not had consistent treatment, will his or her past behavior be indicative of future behavior?

Your Goals and the Patient’s Goals

  • What are the patient’s goals for the treatment? 
  • Based on your assessment, are the patient’s goals reasonable and objective? 
  • Subjective goals can lead to devastating results when they are not backed up by objective data. 

Extensive Treatment Plans

  • Are you able to manage any unexpected outcome? 
  • Is the patient open to a referral to a specialist as needed? 

Financial Considerations 

  • Does the patient understand your financial payment policy?
  • Has the patient received a copy of your policy regarding financial plans, refills and participation in their care? 

It is often helpful to know why the patient chose your practice. Who was their previous provider and why did they change providers?

For guidance on mitigating the risk of difficult patients, contact our Claims Advice Hotline

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