Honesty — The Best Policy

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We continue to see “Honesty” vs. “Denial” as the trend when things go wrong in healthcare. “I’m sorry”, works in building a caring relationship between the patient and provider when things don’t go according to plan. Patients want to know their provider cares and are listening to their concerns.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the time the standard of care was in fact met. In this case the doctors still should meet with the patient and family and explain what happened, open medical charts, and answer all questions. This approach will reduce the number of unmeritorious cases; which account for 60 to 80 percent of all medical malpractice lawsuits.

A major reason for patients to sue a provider is anger. More often than not, anger increases during periods of silence and denial of information regarding their situation.  Many times when a patient files a lawsuit they are not doing so because they ‘want to sue somebody’, but they just want to know what happened. They are looking for answers.

The patient-provider relationship is the key factor in determining whether or not the patient is likely to pursue litigation. People don’t tend to sue someone they like. Listening to patients and taking action based on their feedback will assist you and your organization in developing a caring relationship with your patients.  Being open, communicating, sharing information and Honesty is The Best Policy.

—Marty Hudson

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