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  • February 7, 2017

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  • Take a Fresh Look at How You Document Preventative Care

    patient and doctor looking at filesAn attention-getting study last month pointed to higher-than-estimated death rates from cervical cancer among all American women, noting poor access to screenings and lack of follow-through as significant factors.

    For ISMIE policyholders, such troubling data offers a lesson in patient safety.

    Cervical cancer is one disease that’s largely preventable when screening guidelines and patient monitoring procedures are followed. Yet for a variety of reasons, there will always be patients who won’t ­– or can’t ­– follow through with your preventative recommendations no matter what the health issue.

    And with changes likely coming to the Affordable Care Act, coupled with steadily rising deductibles, you could be dealing with more patients who don’t heed your recommendations.

    So, what can you do to protect yourself? First and foremost: Keep careful, thorough documentation. Your notes should include:

    • Your efforts to explain the screening and the specific risks of forgoing it
    • An indication that the patient understood your discussion
    • Any information the patient mentions about having the tests done
    • Any attempts to follow up with the patient on your recommendation
    • If applicable, the patient’s refusal ­– including his or her reasons for doing so

    The bottom line? Ask yourself: Would your documentation help you effectively defend a failure-to-diagnose charge if one of those patients who refused care got sick?

    For additional help navigating situations in which a patient refuses necessary treatment, including recommended preventative screening and care, consider reviewing  Informed Refusal, one of ISMIE’s Lessons from the Field.

    And if you’re evaluating a particular case or such procedures overall, don’t hesitate to contact ISMIE’s Risk Management team with questions at 800-782-4767 or by email at riskmanagement@ismie.com.



  • April 1 is the Priority Deadline to Request Your 2017 ISMIE Practice Assessment - Get a Preview with Our Live Seminars in February and March!

    Preview sign with arrowISMIE Mutual believes that all medical practices are unique. That’s why we offer our policyholders an opportunity to learn about the specific risks their practices face during an on-site practice assessment.

    If you’re new to our coverage, it’s all about learning principles of good risk management face-to-face. Our team members arrive with an understanding of your specific practice specialty, the potential litigation landmines you face and strategies for avoiding them.

    If you’ve been with ISMIE a while you already know one of the most beneficial aspects of the ISMIE practice assessment. Practices that are in compliance with our principles of good risk management will be awarded a 5% discount for two policy years.

    We also offer ways to prepare for the visit. We have two upcoming live seminars – one February 21 in Oak Brook and the other at our Chicago Headquarters on March 9. We encourage you to register for one of these seminars to learn what’s involved in our 2017 practice assessment.

    A point about scheduling. We assess more than 2,500 clinicians every year and schedules fill quickly. April 1 is our priority deadline for you to contact us and make sure your team gets the best selection of available dates for your assessment.

    Register today for your seminar!



  • Are Narrow Networks Hurting Your Patients? ISMS is Fighting Back

    Speaker talking video previewNarrow networks – shrinking lists of doctors and hospitals available to patients under many health insurance plans – are threatening the bond between physicians and their patients in Illinois.

    The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) is doing something about this. The Society is working to pass the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act – the “NAT Act” for short – to protect patient access to their physicians and chosen health networks. This legislation will ensure that networks meet patient needs, bring transparency about changes or adjustments to insurance networks, and make sure a patient’s care is not interrupted if their network changes.

    What can ISMIE policyholders do to support this important legislation? Call your state representative and state senator in support. Find easy contact information here

    And for more background to share with your colleagues, watch this video.



  • Do You Have a Text Messaging Policy at Your Practice?

    Doctor textingFor many physicians – and an ever-increasing number of patients, other clinicians and staff members – text messaging has become the method of choice for direct communications. After all, it’s fast and easy to do on the go, and available at any time of day.

    But texting, like all practice communications processes, should have a set of common rules to ensure patient safety and protection of private information. ISMIE offers specific policyholder resources to get you started.

    Four Considerations Before Texting About Patient Care suggests key questions to ask before you create a policy. And Five Things You Should Never Text or Email a Patient, part of ISMIE’s guidance on practice e-communications, offers real-life scenarios that underscore the need to set such rules in the first place. If you have questions, contact the ISMIE Risk Management team at 800-782-4767 or by email at  riskmanagement@ismie.com.



  • A Refresher on ‘Tough Talks’ with Your Patients

    Doctor speaking to his patientMost physicians know what it’s like to deliver difficult news to patients and deal with a wide range of responses. However, no matter how often you handle such conversations, it never hurts to review your approach.

    ISMIE’S latest case study, Tough Talks, deals with just that. This installment of the Lessons from the Field series offers practical advice for delivering news of a potentially serious and complicated diagnosis. 




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