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To help avoid lawsuits, laugh with your patients

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Physicians’ ordering extra tests, extra procedures or more office visits doesn’t reduce the doctors’ chances of being sued. What does is being  nicer and better communicators with their patients, says this piece in The Incidental Economist.

A study “looked at the relationship between physicians’ history of malpractice suits and their patients’ satisfaction. Patients seeing doctors who were sued in the past were significantly more likely to report that their doctor rushed them, did not explain reasons for tests or ignored them. Doctors sued most often were complained about by patients twice as much as those who were not, and poor communication was the most common complaint.

Decades-old studies have shown that primary care physicians sued less often are those more likely to spend time educating patients about their care, more likely to use humor and laugh with their patients and more likely to try to get their patients to talk and express their opinions. ”

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