Fresh Risks to your medical practice, to you, and to your patients thanks to the information age
- Data breech risk. While not a new risk, the higher prevalence is new. The risks of a being fined by OCR due to the privacy rules of HIPAA because a practice had a data-breech with their EHR is becoming more common and very expensive
- Risks of telemedicine.As physicians become more technologically enabled in their practice of medicine, some are turning to real-time videoconferencing and other technologies. Some specialties such as psychiatry have been early adopters, but have to make sure they are still employing the same standards of care required by an in office visit (Cash 26). Also, the telephone can facilitate medical care but also result in adverse outcomes leading to telephone-related malpractice suits (Mondor, et al 517).
- Risks of new age medicine practices and their regulation.Case in point: Dry needling, which is like acupuncture, is a growing practice in places like Australia but is unregulated. Physicians should understand all regulatory and other risks when implementing new unregulated practices pushed by our new age society (Janz). Home births are on the rise in North America (even in Canada with government provided hospital delivery) but physicians end up dealing with the disasters and associated risks when they occur (Bochove 68).
- Reputation Risk.Reputation is a doctor’s most valuable asset. With the new age of internet and instant information, physicians must take great care in managing their reputation on such media sources as they are under increasing public and press scrutiny (Boyd 221).
- Communication risks to immigrants with limited non-native language proficiency.With today’s higher immigrant population in the United States, more medical practices are treating patients with limited English language proficiency. Clinicians now run the risk of not properly communicating medical risk information to these populations. A recent study shows that materials that include visual aids are being used by medical practices to effectively communicate with the patient (Garcia-Retamero, Rocio, and Mandeep, K. Dhami 47).
- The rise of the informed distrusting patient and related risks.With the ubiquity of medical information on the internet, the risks incurred by a medical practice in properly dealing with the newly informed patients with medical degrees from the University of Google Medical School are on the rise. Physicians must refine their “bed side manner” and improve their communication skills in order to deal with a more questioning patient population. Clinicians should actively discuss what patients have read on the internet when patients refer to their internet diagnoses (Lam-Po-Tang, John, and Diana McKay 130).