• Revenue Cycle Management
  • COVID-19
  • Reimbursement
  • Diabetes Awareness Month
  • Risk Management
  • Patient Retention
  • Staffing
  • Medical Economics® 100th Anniversary
  • Coding and documentation
  • Business of Endocrinology
  • Telehealth
  • Physicians Financial News
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Locum Tenens, brought to you by LocumLife®
  • Weight Management
  • Business of Women's Health
  • Practice Efficiency
  • Finance and Wealth
  • EHRs
  • Remote Patient Monitoring
  • Sponsored Webinars
  • Medical Technology
  • Billing and collections
  • Acute Pain Management
  • Exclusive Content
  • Value-based Care
  • Business of Pediatrics
  • Concierge Medicine 2.0 by Castle Connolly Private Health Partners
  • Practice Growth
  • Concierge Medicine
  • Business of Cardiology
  • Implementing the Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Malpractice
  • Influenza
  • Sexual Health
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Technology
  • Legal and Policy
  • Money
  • Opinion
  • Vaccines
  • Practice Management
  • Patient Relations
  • Careers

After-hours answering machines


Malpractice Consult

A You should try to arrange call coverage, if at all possible. You'll be better protected against malpractice claims than if you rely on an answering machine. If a patient can't reach you-or someone covering for you-to get advice about a medical condition you've been treating or about problems with a newly-prescribed medication, you could have a liability risk.

While an answering machine isn't as effective as an on-call arrangement with other physicians, such coverage may not be possible in some areas. If it isn't, as in your case, an answering machine is a reasonable option. If you're not on call, and don't have call coverage, an answering service won't solve your problem because there's no one to refer the calls to. (A future column will discuss the use of answering services.)

If you do decide to use an answering machine, consider the following precautions:

The author is a risk management and loss prevention consultant in Cloverdale, CA. He can be reached by e-mail at lossprevention@earthlink.net

. This department answers common professional liability questions. It isn't intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have a question, please submit it to Malpractice Consult, Medical Economics, 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. You may also fax your question to 973-847-5390 or e-mail it to memalp@advanstar.com

Recent Videos
Scott Dewey: ©PayrHealth