Underwriting Managers’ medico-legal expert, looks at the role of healthcare practitioners and also considers the obligations that the patient has in receiving that care.

Doctors are professionally obliged and morally compelled to meet ethical and social standards in their engagement with patients and their families. However, the onus is also on patients to be honest and transparent in their consultations [Image: Pressfoto/Freepik].

THE FOUR PILLARS OF SAFE PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

There are four key areas that help ensure your and your patients’ safety.

KNOWLEDGE – INFORMED CONSENT

Focus on the dialogue to ensure patient understanding and buy-in, communicate clearly about the condition and manage treatment expectations. Share the different treatment options and potential complications. Informed consent spans the entire consultation experience.

COMMUNICATION – RECORDKEEPING

There needs to be accurate detailed record of the therapeutic process. Support the patient, the patient’s family, if necessary, and other healthcare providers in the continuity of care.

TECHNOLOGY – TELEHEALTH

Consider embracing technology for improved access to care, effectiveness and efficiency of care, and recording of treatment.

RISK MANAGEMENT – LIMIT ADVERSE OUTCOMES

Use guidelines and universal protocol, identification and mitigation of activities causing adverse outcomes. Be aware of the various cyber risks of acquiring and storing patient information.

NATIONAL PATIENT’S RIGHTS CHARTER

Doctors and patients must collaborate in terms of the Charter to ensure its principles are met.

PATIENT’S OBLIGATIONS

While you are taking every precaution in managing your patients, they are, in turn, obliged to:

  • Take care of his or her own health, to care for and protect the environment
  • Respect the rights of other patients and health care providers
  • Use the healthcare system properly and not to abuse it
  • Know his or her local health services and what they offer
  • Provide healthcare providers with relevant and accurate information for diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation or counselling purposes
  • Advise healthcare providers of his or her wishes with regard to his or her death
  • Comply with the prescribed treatment or rehabilitation procedures
  • Enquire about the related costs of treatment and/or rehabilitation and arrange payment
  • Take care of the health records in his or her possession.

PRACTITIONER’S OBLIGATIONS

You need to always:

  • Act in the best interests of his or her patients
  • Respect patient confidentiality, privacy, choices and dignity
  • Maintain the highest standards of personal conduct and integrity
  • Provide adequate information about the patient’s diagnosis, treatment options and alternatives, costs associated with each such alternative and any other pertinent information to enable the patient to exercise a choice in terms of treatment and informed decision-making pertaining to his or her health and that of others, as per the HPCSA Ethical Guidelines Booklet 2 s27A.

* Genoa members have access to a number of Dr Brad’s Beira’s CPD-accredited presentations online.