Ten toe-hold practices that help avoid complaints

1.  Professional deportment: all practice personnel should consistently act and communicate with decorum; in a professional, courteous manner toward patients, fellow staff and colleagues, the public, suppliers and the College.

2. Presentability: practice personnel and the practice premises must at all times have a clean, tidy and organized appearance.  A visibly clean treatment room reassures patients of the practice’s adherence to instrument processing and other important standards.

3.  Post important information conspicuously; such as key practice and office protocols and annual registration certificates.

4.  Practice excellence in delivery of care: all podiatric care givers should strive to consistently provide an excellent standard of care, skill and knowledge to patients, and obtain continuing education that is relevant to the practice.

5.  Prudence and objectivity: in practice scope, don’t overreach; when an issue or recommended task is beyond your level of comfort; refer out to a colleague with more experience in the area.

6.  Prioritize transparency with patients and staff.  Delineate office roles and when appropriate explain them to patients, particularly when delegating treatment tasks to non-registrants.  The patient has a right to know who is providing the treatment and the nature of their training.  Explain office policies and practices, especially on fees including extra-billing over MSP, and on orthotics follow-up care and returns.

7.  Obtain informed consent from patients.  Always explain the options and their implications including contra-indications and other risks, including for diagnostic investigations, differential and final diagnoses and treatment options, in a clear manner that the particular patient is likely to understand.

8.  Keep and handle medical records appropriately. Document, legibly.  Keep proper, comprehensive and readable patient records that document the decision making pathways in every patient’s case, including discussions and decisions around consent. Provide a copy or transfer records, readily and promptly, on request of the patient.

9.  Practice collaboratively.  Do not practice in isolation.  Maintain contact with the health care community and important resources; reach out to colleagues, journal groups, associations and the College.  Embrace inter-collaborative practice and remember that the Health Professions Act and health care community in BC looks for inter-collaborative practice among health care professionals.

10.  Respect and comply with marketing rules.  Cultivate an image of professionalism and restraint in all advertising communications.  The result will be a reputation for professionalism.