Minimize the risk of sexual misconduct allegations by implementing the following risk management strategies.
- Use chaperones when sensitive exams are performed, disrobement is required, or sedation is used.
- Consider the needs of patients who are minors and always perform the physical examination of infants, toddlers, and children in the presence of a parent or guardian.
- Educate the patient by explaining why the exam is needed and what it will entail before performing it.
- Document properly by noting in the medical record the clinical indication for the exam, the education provided to the patient about the exam, and the identity of the chaperone present for the exam (or whether a patient refused one).
- Maintain boundaries by not seeing patients alone in the healthcare setting after hours and not socializing with patients. Always use caution when communicating with patients on social media, separate personal and professional content online, and never engage in sexual relations with a patient.
- Educate staff about the power imbalance between patients and providers, professional boundaries, institutional policies regarding sexual misconduct, risk factors for sexual misconduct, and procedures for reporting misconduct.
- Know your State Law and ensure you are familiar with specific guidance regarding reporting requirements for sexual misconduct allegations. Additionally, confirm the guidelines are reflected in your policies and procedures. Consult with legal counsel if necessary.
See a sampling of Med-IQ’s case-based courses for your providers on the above topics and more here.