Whether you have faced the threat a malpractice suit or not, it is always necessary to take precautions against the possibility of a lawsuit and to carry insurance.
Be on the lookout
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) published an article that listed the top reasons chiropractors are sued for malpractice:1
- failure to diagnose
- failure to refer
- disc herniation
- other miscellaneous complaints, such as burns
Security in software
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a malpractice suit is documentation. According to the ACA article,
“The thing that I see most often that makes it difficult to defend malpractice cases is poor record keeping,” says Dr. Wyatt. “Take accurate notes and keep accurate records. This includes adverse reactions. Many chiropractors think that if they put a negative result in the record that it may hurt them in a malpractice suit, but I find the opposite is true in most cases, provided they have a legitimately defensible case.” 1
If documentation is the best way to protect yourself, then finding a way to keep secure files is a must—and practice management software is a solution that makes documentation both easier and more uniform.
With each appointment documented, a treatment plan spelled out, and notes regarding whether patients are doing recommended at-home exercises, patients’ files form a powerful defense if a malpractice suit is brought against you.
Another tip from the ACA is to have good rapport with patients:
“Studies have repeatedly found that doctors who have a good rapport with their patients tend to get sued for malpractice less often, regardless of the facts of the case. That puts chiropractic at an advantage. “We as chiropractors have a tendency to touch our patients more and have a stronger bond,” says Dr. Jahn. “Chiropractors take the time where many other doctors don’t.” 1
Practice management software’s documentation features can help you keep notes of each patient encounter. When you have thorough notes, you are more likely to remember details about the person and their situation, which will allow you to ask more questions and be more personable in general.
1 Shaw G. “Avoiding risky business.” American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1967. Accessed April 2015.