Two Minutes: What's the Risk?

Your ability to address risk effectively is crucial to a successful professional liability insurance program. ProAssurance’s Risk Resource Department provides innovative loss solutions through practice surveys, seminars, publications, and ongoing educational opportunities. Risk Resource is committed to promoting patient safety, providing sound advice, and pledging Treated Fairly®. You deserve an insurance team dedicated to helping you solve problems while providing guidance to help you avoid risk, not just manage it. Access our “What’s the Risk?” video series below or on the Risk Resource Youtube channel.

Handoff Communication

In this video, Lisa Hallman, a Senior Risk Resource Advisor for ProAssurance, provides several considerations for helping ensure that handoff communication is clear, consistent and effective. 

Emergencies in the Medical Office Setting

Medical offices generally are not staffed and equipped like a hospital emergency department but patients and visitors may expect some type of response to a medical emergency. Kathy Dolan, Senior Risk Resource Advisor, explains the medical office’s role in a medical emergency and key considerations for a medical emergency plan.

Mental Illness in the Emergency Department

Emergency Departments (EDs) are vital to the delivery of healthcare in emergency situations, but some medical emergencies are more challenging than others. Senior Risk Resource Advisor Christine Lynch-Tock discusses the unique challenges in caring for patients with mental health or substance abuse disorders in the ED.

Identifying Retained Surgical Objects

Surgeons and operating room staff ask radiologists to assist in confirming or ruling out a retained surgical object by radiograph. In “Identifying Retained Surgical Objects,” Dr. Bob Stroud explains how his group created a glossary and digital file of commonly used surgical objects to help radiologists and surgeons at their hospital reduce the risk of retained surgical objects.

Patient Complaints

A successful medical practice strives for patient satisfaction, but patients may still complain about care received or some other aspect of a medical practice. In this video, Joanne Simmons, Senior Risk Resource Advisor for ProAssurance, offers suggestions for how a practice might generally respond to a patient complaint. With careful attention to the issue, good communication, and consideration for possible resolutions, you may reduce your risk exposure and possibly find patient satisfaction again.

Incident Reporting

Senior Risk Resource Advisor Sharron Haroutunian discusses the importance of incident reporting for both managing liability risks and improving processes within a healthcare organization.

Closing a Practice

There may be a number of reasons why a physician may be closing his or her practice. Whatever the reason, there are certain considerations for ensuring a smooth transition for patients. In this video, Dr. Hayes Whiteside, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President for ProAssurance, discusses some of those considerations. Learn about notifying patients and taking steps to safeguard patient records after the close of the practice.

The Legal Defense Endorsement

Many ProAssurance policies, regardless of the state in which they are issued, contain a version of the Legal Defense Endorsement. This endorsement provides legal expense and audit expense coverage for what the endorsement defines as “covered investigations” and “covered audits.”

ProAssurance Policy Holder Services Representative Robin Beasley explains the basics of the Legal Defense Endorsement.

Parental Refusal of Vaccinations for Children

Many parents are refusing vaccinations for their children, and that issue is impacting pediatric practices—as well as other practices that treat pediatric patients. Because of this, many physicians are asking if they must allow unvaccinated children to be patients of the practice.

Senior Risk Resource Advisor Mallory Earley discusses considerations for pediatricians and family physicians when parents refuse vaccinations for their children.

On-Site Risk Assessments

Have you ever thought about the potential risks your practice faces? One of our value-added services is On-site Risk Assessments—where a highly-trained Risk Resource Advisor comes to your practice and guides you through assessing your potential risk.

Leslie Roberts, Director, Patient Safety of ProAssurance’s Risk Resource Department discusses the process of having an on-site assessment performed and the benefits this process offers.

Screening Exam Follow-Up

Routine but important screening exams are recommended by physicians every day. The majority of these exams will have normal results not indicative of a serious condition. However, all results require routine follow-up.

Chief Medical Officer and ProAssurance Senior Vice President Dr. Hayes Whiteside discusses the devastating consequences of failure to follow up on results of routine exams.

Physicians Under Pressure: Helpful Strategies to Reduce Liability

Setting clear plans, goals, and expectations from your first patient encounter is critical when caring for patients. 

Dr. Dallas discusses several important tools to help develop trusting relationships, potentially reducing liability.

Physicians Under Pressure: Non-Compliant Patients

Non-compliant patients present a variety of risks, causing grave concerns for physicians. 

Stephen Dallas, MD, MA describes some of these scenarios. If the physician and patient cannot come to an agreement, it may be necessary to terminate the relationship.

Physicians Under Pressure: Friendships and Distractions

Patients may desire a social relationship beyond the boundaries of professionalism with their physician. But social interactions are distracting, and may cause a medical error to occur.

Besides a brief greeting, Stephen Dallas, MD, MA, advises you keep relationships in the exam room professional and leave social interactions outside.

Three Most Important Issues for Practice Administrators

Statistics show the question of whether a physician will be sued is “when” not “if.” 

Randall A. Juip, JD offers three suggestions to aid practice administrators in insulating physicians, their practice, and employees against the risk of malpractice litigation.

Using Scribes

Scribes enter patient information in the EHR, freeing the physician to focus exclusively on patient care. A scribe’s role must be clearly defined and communicated—with documented job descriptions and set policies and procedures—to optimize their use and minimize challenges. 

Mark Hakim, Director, Strategic Partnerships, ProAssurance Risk Resource Department, describes the risks and benefits associated with using scribes in your practice or organization.

Jury Expectations and Test Results

Jurors often think that if a physician orders a test, they require the information and care about the results. 

If a physician later testifies that following up on the test result was unnecessary, this can cause a disconnect in the juror’s mind. 

Randall A. Juip, JD, describes how test follow-up helps demonstrate thoughtful physician care in the context of litigation.

Informed Consent

Informed consent must be treated as an educational process which advises patients and protects physicians.

Chief Medical Officer and ProAssurance Senior Vice President Dr. Hayes Whiteside discusses effective and thorough methods for meeting informed consent requirements. 

EHRs & Chart Reviews

During litigation, electronic health records (EHRs) can profoundly impact how allegations of malpractice are resolved.

Randall A. Juip, JD, describes the importance of a periodic quality review of charts to ensure consistent and standardized methods of documenting patient care by healthcare professionals.


Medical records document patient care and are a critical reference tool for the physician and healthcare staff. Sadly, we also see medical records used as a legal document against the physician—challenging the healthcare that was provided to the patient.

To help deter threats of litigation, ProAssurance Risk Resource Director Mark Hakim offers ten useful tips for mindful medical record documentation. It only takes two minutes for you to benefit from this important information.


Electronic health records contain valuable personal and financial data. A data breach can result in multiple, often expensive, challenges.

Learn how cyber-attacks can occur and access ideas for safeguarding private healthcare information.

Don’t Abandon Medical Judgment to Please a Patient

Today’s patients are less likely to blindly heed a physician’s recommendations for care. In this two-minute video, Stephen Dallas, MD, MA discusses ways to encourage patients to follow doctors’ recommendations.

Hand Washing

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection.

In this two-minute video, Frederick Guenther, MD, FACOG addresses the importance of proper hand hygiene and why we need to get serious about this very basic (and low tech) preventative measure.

Terminating the Physician-Patient Relationship

The decision to end a patient relationship can be daunting. In this two-minute video, ProAssurance Risk Resource Advisor Aaron Hamming provides key considerations for deciding to end a patient relationship. In addition, you’ll learn how best practices can reduce related liability.

Litigation Collaboration Network

ProAssurance Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hayes Whiteside, describes the Litigation Collaboration Network, which offers collegial support for physicians named as defendants in litigation.

When to Report Claims

Physicians are sometimes unclear as to when they should report a claim or incident to their medical professional liability carrier.

ProAssurance Senior Claims Specialist, Marta Garrett, provides information on when to pick up the phone and make a call to receive important guidance.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.

Document the Care You Provided As You Were Trained

What can healthcare professionals do to mitigate risk when a patient refuses to follow a treatment regimen or advice?

Dr. Greg Jackson discusses how careful documentation can help you reduce liability risk associated with noncompliant patients.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.


Failure to follow up with a patient—especially when it involves abnormal test results—can lead to medical professional liability allegations against physicians and others.

Hayes V. Whiteside, MD, ProAssurance Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President, explains how adequate follow-up could have made a difference in a recent claim.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.


Metadata (which show actions on electronic devices) can be subpoenaed and presented as evidence in a malpractice trial. ProAssurance Assistant Vice President of Web and Digital Marketing, Steve Dapkus, explains how metadata are recorded and used in electronic medical records.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.

Patient Portals

Today’s patients appreciate the convenience of accessing their health records online through a secure patient portal. Ensuring the privacy and security of these electronic records is paramount. Director of Risk Resource, Brandy Boone, helps you understand important issues around patient portals.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.

Customer Service

Poor customer service can lead to disgruntled patients who are more likely to pursue legal action. Risk Resource Advisor, Leslie Roberts, provides tips to help you reinforce positive patient relationships and improve customer service.

Nothing in this video is intended to provide legal or medical advice.

Electronic Medical Record Documentation

Widespread adoption of electronic medical records brings unique liability risks for physicians and medical staff.

Senior Risk Resource Advisor, Stephen Shows, aids your awareness of some common risks and concerns related to electronic medical record documentation.

Violence in Healthcare

In “Violence in Healthcare,” Dr. Greg Jackson cites the alarming rise in violence against healthcare workers and provides tips to help improve safety.

The Limited English Proficient Patient

In the “The Limited English Proficient Patient,” Dr. Greg Jackson provides an overview of communication risks and responsibilities regarding patients who speak little or no English (when that is your language).

He also shares tips to help you mitigate risks and improve communication.

The Drug Seeking Patient

It can be difficult to determine whether a patient is seeking unnecessary medication or has legitimate pain management issues. In “The Drug Seeking Patient,” Dr. Greg Jackson provides tips to help you distinguish between the two.

The Non-Compliant Patient

In “The Non-Compliant Patient,” Dr. Greg Jackson shares suggestions on how to manage patients who repeatedly cancel appointments or ignore your medical advice.

Texting: What could be the problem?

Communicating with fellow physicians and healthcare providers via text messaging carries both benefits and risks. Dr. Greg Jackson highlights related issues in “Texting: What could be the problem?”

Recording Conversations

In “Recording Conversations,” Dr. Greg Jackson shares risk issues that may arise when patients wish to record conversations with their physicians.

Incident Reporting

Senior Risk Resource Advisor Sharron Haroutunian discusses the importance of incident reporting for both managing liability risks and improving processes within a healthcare organization.