Risk Management Checklists for Dentists: Office Policies

MLMIC publishes Risk Management Checklists to assist insured dentists with the creation of policies and protocols in critical areas, including dentist office policies. These checklists focus on specific risk management issues that policyholders are likely to encounter in the dental practice setting, like maintaining patient confidentiality, tracking test results, following up on missed or cancelled appointments and handling patient complaints.

We encourage you to review these checklists on a regular basis to promote patient safety and reduce potential liability exposure:

Maintaining Patient Confidentiality

Patient confidentiality breaches pose a significant risk in the healthcare setting. HIPAA and New York State laws govern your obligation to maintain the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI). Staff and dentists must be aware that routine office practices, including telephone contact, verbal discussions and computer use, inherently carry the risk of patient confidentiality breaches.

View or download the checklist here: Maintaining Patient Confidentiality.

Tracking Test Results

The receipt and review of test results are important aspects of patient care and safety in dental practices. Tests may not be completed, or results may be lost, overlooked or not received, leading to potential delay in diagnosis and subsequent liability exposure. Follow-up procedures should be an integral part of your practice and can help ensure that patients obtain the necessary testing, as ordered, and that results are received, reviewed and properly addressed.

View or download the checklist here: Tracking Test Results.

Follow-up of Missed or Cancelled Appointments

A missed or cancelled appointment and the failure to follow up with or contact the patient may result in a serious delay in diagnosis or treatment. A well-defined process that includes dentist notification and follow-up procedures in this situation will help ensure continuity of care and enhance patient safety.

View or download the checklist here: Follow-up of Missed or Cancelled Appointments.

Handling Patient Complaints Properly

Patient satisfaction is an integral part of every clinical setting. Dissatisfaction with dental care may be a harbinger of medical malpractice litigation. When you receive a complaint about care, how you handle the situation may directly impact the potential for any future litigation. All dental practices should have a policy or protocol in place to address patient complaints.

View or download the checklist here: Handling Patient Complaints Properly.

MLMIC’s Risk Management Consultants are available to assist insured dentists in their ongoing efforts to identify and address areas of concern related to office policies. For guidance regarding a specific situation, please contact MLMIC’s Risk Management Department at (800) 275-6564.

In addition to guidance for dentist office policies, policyholders can stay up to date on the latest risk management guidance and alerts by monitoring the MLMIC Dental blogThe Scope: Dental Edition, Dental Impressions and other MLMIC communications, like our Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.