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Risk Management: Err on side of caution

Risk Management: Err on side of caution Q. What documentation is necessary to mitigate future claims and protect me in a lawsuit?

A. When done right, good documentation tells a story. It paints a clear picture of the facts surrounding a claim—the classic who, what, when, where, why. But, of course, it's no simple task. Every claim and every patient is different, making a one-size-fits-all solution for documentation almost impossible. Still, there are a few solutions you can incorporate into your process to help you mitigate your risks.

Document service, changes

Keep a record of the initial equipment setup, as well as when and why it may have been serviced or changed out. It's also important to have the parties involved sign off on every transaction. Having easy-to-understand forms and templates is useful.

Document non-billable events, details

Even if it doesn't seem important, it's best to err on the side of caution and document it anyway. Just because it seems irrelevant at the time, doesn't mean it won't come up later. Document every customer interaction you can as close to the conversation as possible to avoid forgetting details that may come up in a claim. 

Use tools, technology

There's no shortage of technology solutions available to help with documentation. Take a picture of an equipment setup, including serial numbers. Use a call-logging system. You could even use GPS to track the routes of your service vehicles. If technology is a viable solution for you, I encourage you to use it. But even if you rely on handwritten forms and notes—be sure to write legibly.

Good documentation may not be able to completely absolve you of liability. But it can mitigate damages and expedite a claim, saving time, money, and frustration for everyone involved. When what happened is clearer, claims move forward efficiently and, with any luck, inexpensively.  


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