Healthcare Compliance TIps
Three E’s of Reinventing [Healthcare Compliance Tips]
Healthcare Compliance Tips
Financial Policy [Healthcare Compliance Tips]
Healthcare Compliance TIps
Three E’s of Reinventing [Healthcare Compliance Tips]
Healthcare Compliance Tips
Financial Policy [Healthcare Compliance Tips]

Informed Consent [Healthcare Compliance Tips]

Tip Series: 5 Compliance Concerns Your Patients Won’t Tell You

A few years ago, I remember visiting an oral surgeon.  I had been holding onto my last two wisdom teeth far too long, and the big day had arrived to remove them.  Even though I have visited plenty of dental practices for various procedures in the past, I was still anxious.

Maybe, I was nervous because I forgot how it felt to have my teeth pulled.

Maybe, I was anticipating the pain during and after the procedure.

But, as I reviewed the dental informed consent, my worries subsided. I realized I was comfortable because their explanation, verbally and written, was so concise it allowed me to trust their abilities.

After leaving, I reflected on my previous healthcare experiences and what I neglected to say as a patient.  I never sent a letter to the practice explaining how they “wronged” me or that their lack of explanation led me straight to Google for the answers.

I would just switch practices.

I know, as a practice owner and manager, you are probably scratching your head thinking:

“Why doesn’t the patient voice this directly to us?”

Well, here is why.

There are three types of patients you may encounter regarding compliance:

  • The patient that is afraid to voice their opinion because they value you as a provider and don’t want to hurt your feelings.
  • The patient that doesn’t know how to voice their opinion appropriately without anger, so they remain silent.
  • The patient, due to past healthcare altercations, looking for any reason to report you to state or federal government. Basically, the patient that knows their healthcare rights.

All three are dangerous to your compliance program, because they are not comfortable coming to you directly.  At any moment, it is possible their fingers could dial the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

So, how do you rectify this?

I can help.  In this series, I will share 5 common concerns and the solution to building an effective compliance program that includes the patient in the process.

Starting with:

1. Informed Consent


Sometimes, in a busy practice, procedure explanations are very brief, lack details, are overlooked or missing altogether, which increases patient frustration and compliance risks.


Since informed consent is considered protection for the patient and the physician, slowing down and taking a little time in this area is crucial to reduce future compliance risks.  A few reasons patients may not ask questions is because they are unsure of what to ask, scared to hear the risks, or the medical jargon hinders them.  To counteract this:

  • Allow the patient to read the consent or watch a video before the conversation begins.
  • Discuss the likely potential risks at an 8th or 9th grade level.
  • Reassure the patient they can call your practice at any time with questions, which reduces the risk of wrong answers from google.
  • Ensure the consent is signed, details from the discussion are recorded and stored appropriately in the patient’s medical record (document the refusal).

Though studies show physicians win most informed consent cases, the goal is to avoid negative publicity directed towards your office.  A best practice is to create and tailor informed consent templates to utilize with every procedure, even if it is minor.

Every time you connect with your patients, you should be mindful you are showing them how serious you are about compliance and their safety.


**The opinions and observations from the group/author are not a promise to exempt your practice from fines and penalties.  Research, modify and tailor the advice to fit your specialty.

Click here for the next tip in the series.

Joi Sherrod, MPH, CPC, CPCO
Joi Sherrod, MPH, CPC, CPCO
Joi is an educator and owner of JNC Healthcare Compliance Group. After working for distinguished academic teaching hospitals and clinics, she is passionate about helping medical, dental, and behavioral health practices rethink healthcare compliance one trend at a time. Contact Joi at