Medical and Healthcare professionals face many types of risks as part of their day to day practice. Doctors depend on their Medical Indemnity Insurance to protect them and keep their practice safe. Medical Indemnity Insurers regularly assist practitioners to proactively manage the scenario when patients refuse to follow their medical advice.
When patients won’t follow advice
Patients may choose not to undergo diagnostic tests, care or treatment that, in your opinion, may place their future health in jeopardy. What can you do to avoid an allegation in the future that they did not fully understand the importance of the treatment or test being recommended? Here are some suggestions that you should follow.
- Document your recommendations and the patient’s non-compliance in their medical record
- Advise the patient of the potential consequences their non-compliance or refusal may cause and document your discussion
- Confirm the patient’s non-compliance, your subsequent discussion, and the potential consequences in a letter to the patient. Consider sending the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested if you think the situation warrants this action
- Additional discussions at subsequent visits including the patient’s response should also be documented
- Ask the patient to sign an informed refusal form. This document provides evidence that the patient was sufficiently informed of the alternatives, risks, and benefits of the recommendations. File that document in the patient’s medical record
Medical Indemnity Insurers
In some cases when a patient fails to follow your advice, you might decide to withdraw from the patient’s care. If in a group setting, it may be best to withdraw on behalf of the others in the group as well. Medical Practice Insurance in Australia is a complex area of insurance requiring the skill and expertise of an experienced Medical Indemnity Insurer.
Information provided on this page is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.
Eric is the CEO of Tego, an insurance agency offering specialist indemnity insurance solutions for the healthcare and life sciences sectors. His qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in business and law, a master’s degree from UNSW in law and management and an MBA from the AGSM.