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:
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.
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:
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.
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