Risk Management

The course begins with an overview of risk management and related issues, emphasizing the need for primary care clinicians to establish risk management strategies in their practice. A definition of tort (personal-injury) law and several legal issues related to malpractice lay the foundation for a better understanding of such key concepts as medical negligence and the standard of care, adequate informed consent, statutes of limitations, and measure of damages. In addition, the course discusses malpractice-related laws such as apology statutes, good Samaritan laws, and charitable immunity laws; knowledge of these laws can help healthcare professionals better protect themselves from malpractice. Descriptions of the common characteristics of malpractice claims and the consequences of malpractice are included to enhance healthcare professionals' understanding of the underlying causes and motivations of malpractice claims and to improve their ability to handle a malpractice lawsuit. Tort reform is addressed to enable clinicians to become familiar with the proposed solutions to malpractice problems and participate in this national debate. The course closes with a brief discussion of the initial steps involved in responding to a malpractice claim and minimizing loss.

With patient safety as the priority, risk management should focus on the avoidance of medical errors, as they are, along with inadequate informed consent, the most common assertions in malpractice claims in the United States. The purpose of this course is to provide healthcare professionals with the information necessary to engage in risk management practices, including a variety of proven strategies to avoid malpractice.

Target Audience

This course is designed for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners seeking to enhance their knowledge of risk management strategies, especially in the outpatient setting.

Learning Objectives

  1. Define the most important issues and trends related to risk management and malpractice.
  2. Define the key concepts in malpractice.
  3. Outline malpractice-related laws, such as Good Samaritan laws, charitable immunity laws, and apology statutes.
  4. Identify the most common underlying causes and characteristics of malpractice claims.
  5. Describe the consequences of malpractice with respect to healthcare delivery and personal and professional effects on physicians.
  6. Describe measures to enhance patient-physician communication, ensure appropriate disclosure of errors to patients, and guarantee adequate informed consent.
  7. Develop efficient office processes to enhance documentation, diagnosis, test tracking, medication management, and other issues.

Additional Information

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 5.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Lori L. Alexander, MTPW, ELS, MWC, is President of Editorial Rx, Inc., which provides medical writing and editing services on a wide variety of clinical topics and in a range of media. A medical writer and editor for more than 30 years, Ms. Alexander has written for both professional and lay audiences, with a focus on continuing education materials, medical meeting coverage, and educational resources for patients. She is the Editor Emeritus of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Journal, the peer-review journal representing the largest association of medical communicators in the United States. Ms. Alexander earned a Master’s degree in technical and professional writing, with a concentration in medical writing, at Northeastern University, Boston. She has also earned certification as a life sciences editor and as a medical writer.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Lori L. Alexander, MTPW, ELS, MWC, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planners

John M. Leonard, MD

John V. Jurica, MD, MPH

Division Planners Disclosure

The division planners have disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

In support of improving patient care, NetCE is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this enduring material for a maximum of 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Available Credit

  • 5.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit


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This course is offered through NetCE.

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