Physician incompetence can be a major safety threat to patients, eventually affecting patient trust along with satisfaction and in turn the medical practice revenue. Such physicians can easily become a liability for the practice, yet various practices find it tough to control or report such doctors. Majority of state medical boards and associations, cite that it is necessary for physicians to report incompetent, impaired or unethical physicians.
The growth in the medical error death rate doubled in the last decade to nearly 200,000 preventable deaths per year. This makes it imperative to report any discrepancies in the system in order to assure patient safety; improve trust and eventually provide confidence in the patients to return to the practice.
American Medical Association (AMA), states that – “physicians have an “ethical obligation to report” and are expected to “participate in the process of self-regulation.” In New York, failure to report such physicians equals to misconduct and can lead to the physician losing his or her license in extreme cases.
However a recent study results depict that only 64% of physicians completely agree with their commitment to report physicians who are considerably impaired or incompetent to practice.
Impact on the practice - Industry experts are of the view that ignorance of physician in-competence at a practice can have a highly negative impact on the practice resulting in -higher liability, legal cases, ruined reputation for the practice, probability of high losses, and adverse effect on licenses of the other physicians. This also majorly affects the efficiency and revenue of the practice and in certain extreme cases may cause the practice to shut down.
Recognizing physician impairment At times identifying physician impairment can be difficult, methods to measure competence can include- board certification, recertification, licensing, continuation of medical education requirements and so on.
What steps can a practice take to ensure patient safety and satisfaction?
Updated policies and procedures stating physician expectations
Formalized system of reporting staff doctors incompetence, which also assures anonymity
Awareness and constant updating of any state requirements related to maintenance of medical certificate and licensure
Clarity to the staff doctors regarding practice's expectations for standards of care which are in line with community expectations, and ability to report any deficiencies to a supervisor without fear of dismissal
The above steps can help promote quality of care; due to optimized compliance with guidelines eventually improving patient safety and efficiency at the medical practice. Patient safety is an essential ensuring a good reputation for your practice and inculcating trust within the patients. Patients are more likely to return if satisfied with the physician’s ability and the practice hence increasing revenue. Majority of financially profitable healthcare organizations report a good team of physicians providing high patient satisfaction consequently- Patient safety & satisfaction = High Profits!
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Our clients easily concentrate on improving their practice management and patient safety as they rely on MBC for well informed decisions, improved communication between physicians; tracking and reporting; assistance with medication safety and sustaining quality of healthcare with regular industry updates to assure compliance with guidelines. Our clients have reaped considerable revenue benefits as our experts help busy practices improve patient safety through improved care coordination, communication and documentation.