How to prevent medico-legal issues for hospitalists?

If you know certain things that need to be done, you can avoid lot of problems later on. The good news for everyone is that historically their rate of medico-legal issues is low.

1. Be genuinely interesting in offering good high quality care to the patients every day with every patient.

2. Majority of medico-legal issues are seen in Head aches, Chest Pain, Abdominal Pain and sepsis cases.

3. As you gain more experience, your quality obviously goes up.

4. Taking good care of a patient should be the top priority.

5. Talk to patients and families and listen to them.

6. Be frank about the exact nature of the medical problems the patients have.

7. Always communicate with the patients’ families if patients are elderly during admission if possible and during floor transfers and discharges,  and explain medical condition and follow up plan. They really appreciate that.

8. Lot of patients request out patient pending tests and consults to be done while in the hospital. Explain them nicely if they are not emergencies to take care of right during this admission. Majority of the families understand the situation.

9. Always dictate in the discharge summary about all the follow up the patient needs. Dictate even though a particular lab is slightly abnormal.