An introduction to risk management
Risk management is the identification, control and prevention of risks that can have an adverse effect on patient care. The goals of healthcare risk management are always to improve the quality of patient care and reduce the frequency and severity of malpractice claims.
National data indicates that the most common dental malpractice claims include the diagnosis and treatment of infection, delay in diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, procedures performed on the incorrect tooth, paresthesia secondary to third molar extraction, and the operative management of temporal mandibular disease (TMD).
From patient to plaintiff
Any patient can become a malpractice plaintiff with sufficient motivation. A patient can sue for any reason. Some of the most common reasons include dissatisfaction with the result of treatment, financial incentives, a dentist criticizing the care provided by a previous dentist, unrealistic patient expectations, problems with patient-dentist communication, a poor or negative attitude on the part of the dentist in dealing with patients, or patient anger with the dentist or staff. When these issues arise, communication between dental care providers and their patients is critical.