Every physician should have a reliable follow-up system to obtain adequate information on a patient’s progress, give patients their test results and so on. Failing to follow up, or at least doing so adequately, can result in substandard care.
Here is what you should know about this matter:
What is it?
The straightforward meaning of failure to follow up is a doctor not contacting a patient. But it can be more than that. If a doctor fails to get a hold of a patient after calling them, they should employ other means, such as sending a letter by mail. Not taking further attempts to contact a patient may constitute a failure to follow up.
Further, if a patient misses an appointment, a doctor should contact them to schedule another one. Not doing so may be negligent.
A physician not providing a patient with adequate information about their test results, medical records and other matters is another way failure to follow up may occur.
Additionally, during a follow-up, a doctor should record a patient’s observations to determine if they need new medication, dosage or treatment. If a physician fails to consider the patient’s comments, the conversation may not amount to a complete follow-up.
Is it considered medical malpractice?
Most cases of failure to follow up may be considered medical malpractice, particularly those that are the doctor’s fault and lead to injuries. If a physician provides adequate instructions that a patient should follow, but the patient fails to do so, this may not be considered medical malpractice.
Failure to follow up is one of the common reasons behind medical malpractice lawsuits. If you believe a physician didn’t follow up on your case sufficiently, you should learn more about your options.