We recently asked a panel of medical professionals and patients to share their views on what can be done to improve public health in our communities and to address the serious issue of medical malpractice.

Specifically, we asked our panelists:

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How can businesses come together to promote public health and welfare?

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How can an employer help an employee who is the victim of medical malpractice?

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What steps can doctors or hospitals take to decrease the amount of medical malpractice cases that occur?

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Here’s what our panelists had to say:

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It is actually in business’ best interests to promote health within their communities says “Doctor Steve,” the host of the Sirius radio show, Weird Medicine. When employees are healthy, it reduces a company’s insurance and medical costs.

He also encourages companies to use financial incentives in order to improve workers’ health. For instance, a business could pay a larger percentage of health insurance premiums for employees who do not smoke – effectively giving them a raise in salary.

DOCTOR STEVE | DoctorSteve.com

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We can do more to improve public health by holding national health care observance days and monitoring specific diseases and risk factors, Daswani says.

She believes that nurse staffing levels should be increased at hospitals in order to prevent medical malpractice. Staff shortages are a leading cause of problems, in her view.

REENA DASWANI | NurseTogether.com

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Hospitals and other health care facilities can focus on preventing the spread of infectious diseases by establishing and enforcing protocols such as washing hands, cleaning and disposing of equipment and using protection when dealing with patients, Simpson advises.

We can stress the importance of proper hygiene to the general public as well, she adds. Businesses can launch initiatives that promote public health in their communities – especially among children.

Although some protocols and regulations in hospitals may seem to be “tedious and time-consuming,” they must be followed in order to prevent harm to patients and to other health care workers, Simpson point outs.

To prevent medical malpractice cases, she believes quality assurance checks should be done at hospitals on a regular basis.

“A lot of the responsibility boils down to supervisors and management being structured and responsible for the proper training of the employees they hire and maintain,” Simpson says.

Makenzie Simpson | Mon General Hospital

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Weber emphasized collaboration between health care professionals and their communities in order “to advance the continuum of care” that can prevent illnesses.

She also believes that health care professionals should collaborate with each other across departments in order to “mold a previously single-sided professional into a well-rounded, patient-centered advocate,” which can help to prevent medical malpractice cases.

If an employee is the victim of medical negligence, employers can assist the employee by providing access to legal and medical professionals who can help the employee to make “the most informed decision possible,” Weber adds.

Christina Weber | SPT

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Businesses can plan awareness events to educate their communities about health issues and about available health care resources, Rhoney says.

Communication plays a role in preventing medical malpractice, too, according to Rhoney. Doctors should make sure patients understand instructions, follow-up with patients and offer periodic updates throughout treatment.

Jill Rhoney | Catawba Regional Hospice

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The author and 20-year cancer survivor points out that her husband has, on multiple occasions, served as an advocate for her when she has been seeking timely treatment at hospitals. Family support, in this sense, can help to prevent harm from medical negligence.

Additionally, Hendry says, doctors and those who hire them should insist on excellent education and “a heart of service.” For instance, a leading cancer doctor at Duke University Hospital finds the time to regularly call her husband and explain her treatment and test results.

“If he has the time to do his job with such excellent quality, other doctors have no excuse,” Hendry says.

Caroline Hendry | BeautifulLifewithCancer.com