Viewpoint: Attorneys can be your allies

March 19, 2010

Some top malpractice attorneys explain what non-medical mistakes physicians make that get them into deep legal trouble.

No, it's not for use on the office dartboard (though I imagine some of you will use it that way.). Stuart Ratzan and the other attorneys interviewed for the cover article can help you. Really.

Senior Editor Morgan Lewis Jr. asked some top malpractice attorneys to explain what non-medical mistakes physicians make that get them into deep legal trouble - and the lawyers were more than happy to elaborate.

Whatever your opinion of malpractice attorneys, their insights into how physicians make their job easier is valuable. So read the article "You the physician: Your own worst enemy" before pinning the cover to a dartboard.

The federal government never has hesitated to step into your practice and tell you how to do your job. The result is an ever-growing volume of rules and regulations that can be hard to track and follow. In this issue, we take a look at two areas you need to be up on.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act affects how your practice polices HIPAA. The move to electronic health records and interconnected networks means more data are moving through more hands than ever before. That, of course, creates more opportunities for the data to be lost, stolen, or misused.

The HITECH Act will require, at minimum, an audit of your office practices and could entail staff training and more. Read more in the article "What the HITECH Act means for you".

Other federal laws require that your offices and services be accessible to patients with disabilities. We explain the best ways to do that in an article "Make your office accessible to all".

Lastly, why are people always gaining tremendous insights from cabbies? Newspaper columnists have long used imaginary conversations with clear-thinking, plain-speaking (and fictitious) taxicab drivers to express the view of the common man. Well, contributor Robert N. Pedowitz, DO, did have such a conversation with a real cabbie, and the result is his uplifting essay "What's the point of careers and the way they impact our lives?".