Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Patient Safety in a Medical Office Setting

A partner at Alegria & Barovick LLP, in New York, Andrew Barovick represents plaintiffs in a wide variety of matters. With nearly three decades of experience, Andrew Barovick began his career as a trial attorney but has spent the majority of his career focused on representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases.

When many people think of patient safety, they think of safety in hospitals and other major medical facilities. However, patient safety is just as important in an office setting. Common threats to patient safety in a doctor’s office include matters involving patients’ medication. Ideally, an office should always have a list of each patient’s medications, including prescribed and over-the-counter medicine. This prevents doctors from prescribing a new medication that might have adverse interactions. Additionally, all known allergies should be clearly marked in patients’ medical records.

Further, when writing prescriptions, physicians need to write clearly and legibly to prevent clerical errors that may occur when a patient picks up the medicine. Further, rather than writing the Latin abbreviations for dosage frequencies, writing them out clearly in English reduces confusion, as does writing out the purpose for each medication. Meanwhile, for patients who need various imaging or blood tests, offices should keep records of all test results and referrals. This is often streamlined through the use of an electronic system that other physicians can easily access.