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Every Employee is a Risk Manager

While patients tend to be positive about their doctors, it is often a different story in regards to the front desk staff. Therefore, you cannot underestimate the value of proper training and consistent office protocols.

Where has the care gone in healthcare? While patients tend to be positive about their doctors and the care they receive from them, it is often a different story in regards to the front-desk staff. In fact, a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review revealed that the number one complaint of patients is frustration in dealing with front-desk personnel.

Therefore, when it comes to the staff at your practice, you cannot underestimate the value of proper training and consistent office protocols.

Medical staff members should always maintain an air of professionalism coupled with compassion. While patients can be disrespectful, and that is not acceptable, it is important to note that the affording of respect and civility runs in both directions.

Remember, happy patients tend not to sue and staff members play a large role in how patients experience a visit. Staff members are the face of a practice and they relay, both verbally and nonverbally, the attitude and culture of the practice. With this in mind, it is important that every employee understands, and accepts responsibility for, the risks that could be associated with their position.

When it comes to risk management, staff members should remember:

  • Well intended statements can be misinterpreted as medical advice.
  • Medical advice should never be given unless it has been checked with medical records, confirmed by the licensed medical provider and documented accordingly.
  • Patients often take anything they are told in a physician’s office seriously, regardless of who tells them. Thus, staff members should not volunteer medical opinions or comment on a patient’s treatment.
  • To stay within the limits of delegation as dictated by their job description.

Physicians should be aware of the medical staff’s risk management by:

  • Asking patients about their experiences dealing with the staff. Some helpful tips for this include:
    • Asking patients open ended questions.
    • Asking patients about staff satisfaction periodically, not just once.
    • Sharing patient feedback with staff members.
  • Listening to the staff and to the issues that they are facing.
    • Take the issues that they face seriously and be prepared to address them accordingly.
  • Setting the proper mood for the office environment.
    • A good leader creates the environment which sets the team’s mood.
  • Having established behavior protocols for staff members and being prepared to address issues that arise. 
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