Mitigating Risk When Working with Allied Health Professional Colleagues

October 24, 2023

If a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA) is sued due to an adverse outcome for a patient in their care, the supervising physician is often included in that medical liability lawsuit – even if the doctor was not directly involved in the patient’s care.
Research presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians annual meeting highlighted that supervising physicians were named in 96 of the 144 medical liability lawsuits analyzed involving NPs and/or PAs.
Nearly two-thirds of the cases (63.9%) were for failure to properly diagnose, followed by procedural errors (11.8%) and failure to treat (11.1%). About a quarter of the cases found negligence on behalf of the physician and slightly over a quarter resulted in a settlement.
ISMIE recognizes that allied health professionals (AHPs) are a crucial part of the medical team. In an effort to help mitigate risks for them and their supervising physician, ISMIE offers a resource on working with allied health professionals that provides key steps for consideration, including:
  • Developing written policies and procedures detailing the role and responsibility of the AHPs and their supervising physician
  • Detailing how AHPs should document patient encounters in the medical record
  • Establishing open communication to ensure the AHP can consult with the supervising or collaborating physician whenever necessary
Ensure that your AHPs have the support they need and are practicing within the scope of their training, which in turn should go a long way toward keeping patients safe.

If you have questions, please contact the Risk Management Division by email
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