Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – Safety Misconceptions: Are You At Risk For a Claim?
We have certain misconceptions around safety that we’re gonna go over today and really what puts us at risk. And I wanna be sure to hit on some things that will not only help keep you safe in practice, but are gonna help you build your business as well.
Click here to download the transcript.
Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors. Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.
Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council. Thanks so much for joining me for another episode of To The Point. Let’s go to the slides. Today we’re gonna be talking about something that. I don’t always go over in such a straightforward way. A lot of times this topic is interwoven into some of the the themes that we have throughout our different broadcasts, but it’s something that has been coming up a lot for me lately.
Not just in my own practice, but in things I handle in my day-to-Day work at AAC, and I think it’s really important to note that. We have certain misconceptions around safety that we’re gonna go over today and really what puts us at risk. And I wanna be sure to hit on some things that will not only help keep you safe in practice, but are gonna help you build your business as well.
All about that efficiency. So when we’re looking at this, I think there’s a few reasons why we miss the mark when it comes to safety sometimes. So I think when you hear the word safety, it’s very easy, particularly in our industry to think, oh, that’s OSHA related. Or that’s clean needle technique.
And I think that buzzword of safety makes us think more about occupational hazards when it comes to keeping safe with our needles, with our cupping supply. All of those things that of course we’re running into in our day-to-day when it comes to practice. But there’s a whole other aspect to keeping ourselves safe, not just the materials we use or the patients we use those materials on.
But also how we’re operating in our day-to-Day, and how do we keep our practices safe as we’re growing them. And I think part of this is due to another myth, this misconception that acupuncturists don’t really get in trouble, that we have such a safe medicine, which we do. And compared to other healthcare providers it is very safe.
We focus a lot on preventative health. We have obviously a more holistic and natural approach. So there is going to be some built-in safety to the way that we practice. . However, there’s also built-in risk. And so I think sometimes we focus in on these ideas of clean needle technique or osha because we think this idea of managing risk outside of those very straightforward things feels maybe too overwhelming.
Or like we don’t have a how something to really latch onto with that. And so I wanna demystify a little bit of that today and just give you one really easy takeaway, the main thing that you could take away from this to potentially avoid a claim coming through your office. So when we look at this misconception around safety first and we think about the occupational safety that we need to take care of, I think.
That makes us forget about all these other aspects of risk. So a big thing board complaints, for example. That’s something that could happen even if you are a hundred percent with your OSHA standards, your clean needle technique. That’s something that we don’t even think about when it comes to just the safety of protecting our practice.
If we hear the word malpractice, we’re thinking that’s okay. Yes. Directly related to patient care. Nothing on the periphery. So we really need to reevaluate what’s coming to mind when we think about safety. And that other piece about, oh, our medicine’s really safe. This is a problem for . Other healthcare providers?
No. There, there’s a real truth here that acupuncturists can have claims coming in. And even though our medicine is very safe and it might be obviously more risky to be a surgeon, we still have to look at what our normal is, what our risk tolerance is the things that we’re gonna encounter in our day to day.
When we look at what a patient experience looks like for us specifically, there’s a lot of risk that’s just baked into our normal day-to-day. We have a one-on-one relationship with our patients. There’s not a scribe. A lot of times there’s not office staff. There’s not. Witnesses to things that could potentially happen.
So that puts us at a little bit of increased risk. And because of nuances like that, that are not cut and dry, it’s not like we’re performing a surgical procedure and there’s either a favorable outcome or not. There’s either a complication or there isn’t. There is nuance to how we need to think about safety in our practice.
So the number one thing that we can do, and I want you to see this stat, over 90%. I am wondering if you have any idea what comes to mind or what comes to mind for you individually when you hear this over 90% with regard to claims. So this is actually, a colleague of mine uses the stat when we speak in the different acupuncture schools that over 90% of claims in acupuncture could be avoided if there was proper communication on the front end.
And that sounds really scary because it’s scary to even think about claims in our practice or something going wrong, especially because most acupuncturists are very well-intentioned and wanna do really right by our patients. But to think that I. The claims that do come through that, a lot of times there’s a breakdown in communication that should actually feel really empowering.
That’s something that we can get better at. That’s something that can help protect us in practice as well as help us grow our businesses. So just like when people say things, it’s very cliche, oh, if you invest in yourself, you can never go wrong. If you invest in your communication, your ability to manage expectations on the front end, that is a great way to bridge that gap between thinking about safety from a, how do I protect myself, my practice, my patients.
Managing expectations is a huge part of lowering that risk. And so this 90% plus for you to think about how powerful you could be and how safe you could be in practice with that effective communication for you from a business building perspective is going to help with patient acquisition.
It’s gonna help with patient retention because you’re managing expectations better. It will absolutely help with referrals because if we’re effectively communicating the value that we provide, so if you’re. Invested in becoming a stellar communicator. Not only are you gonna lower that risk but you’re gonna bring your business to a new level as well.
To wrap this up, I wanna bring all of these together focused on what we talked about at the beginning. So if you take anything away from this, just know that there’s more to safety, so don’t hear that safety buzzword and think, oh, I just need to get my N-C-C-O-M PDAs and knock out that one class. I already did clean needle technique.
I don’t need to think about that. No. Safety is something we need to think about every single day in our businesses, and we need to expand beyond that, that safety net of just checking the box that we’re doing clean needle technique or effective OSHA practices or even effective HIPAA practices. We need to think about how
Every little bit of communication that we have, every action that we make absolutely falls into that safety category. And the reality is we’re licensed providers. So licensed providers, regardless of what your day-to-Day looks like, there’s an increased risk because you have a license, it’s. Stake and you have certain standards that need to be met to maintain that license to help the public be protected to be a fiduciary.
And so we need to think about safety a little bit differently within the context of being licensed. And the last thing is. Safety doesn’t need to be a boring thing or a check the box thing. It can be a really interesting thing. It can be a really exciting thing because it does help you manage risk, but also build your practice.
We have another previous show where we went over the fear of, in a discussing informed consent. Informed consent is my favorite business building tool. So there’s a lot of overlap here between keeping yourself safe and making sure your business is going to continue to grow. Thrive. I appreciate you all listening today.
If you have more questions, always feel free to reach out to me at aac and don’t forget to tune in next week. We’re gonna have, of course, another episode of To The Point. So thank you so much and see you then.