Avant Insurance

Issue no. 4 - Protecting members every day

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Avant Connect 24 The role of an Avant medical advisor A lot of what we do as medical advisors is interpreting – we help the lawyers and claims managers understand the medicine and we help our doctors understand the law. Doctors often feel more comfortable explaining their actions to a peer who understands the medicine. When a doctor first contacts Avant to ask for assistance after receiving a dreaded letter from a lawyer or regulator, a medical advisor speaks with them. We then meet with the doctor, an Avant lawyer and a claims manager, to review what has occurred clinically. After that, we help select appropriate experts and analyse the expert evidence when it is received. During a trial or hearing, we listen to the evidence and guide the barrister on whether experts are providing credible evidence. And most importantly, we provide peer support to our members throughout the claim. Having to give evidence in court, especially if a doctor is nervous about their management of the patient, is a very stressful experience. We help calm their nerves, give tips about how to give evidence and provide a debrief after they've given evidence. How do you help the profession? When we know a doctor has managed a patient appropriately but the lawyers are not as convinced, we get quite stubborn. This assists the profession as it minimises the opportunity for lawyers to dictate what standards of care are required in the future. We also write articles and make presentations that help our members and other medical practitioners What is the role of Avant's medical advisors? Interpreting, according to Dr Patrick Clancy. member benefit an Avant risk Avant Risk IQ Our informative, accessible, online risk education resources help you identify, manage and reduce medico-legal risk across all specialties. To access Avant Risk IQ, visit avant.org.au/risk/IQ with your Avant member login details 2705/04 -14 to review and modify their practice, based on the lessons from individual cases. Are you ever frustrated? Many cases are settled with a confidentiality agreement, which is unfortunate because it would be good to share some of the interesting cases. So in many of my talks I go through hypothetical case scenarios, where the facts are changed to protect the innocent (and not so innocent) but the legal concepts are still demonstrated. What satisfaction do you get from the job? I recently had dinner with three intensive care specialists. They were questioning what they do and whether they actually made a difference. They said that many of their patients die no matter what and others survive but with a poor outcome. Of those that survive, many are soon unwell again. I was quite taken aback by this frank analysis and professional doubt. They then turned to me and asked if I thought I made a difference. I was delighted to say that I did because I have the opportunity to assist my peers during a stressful time when their professional identity is being challenged. Dr Patrick Clancy has been a medical advisor with Avant for almost five years. He combines the role with clinical work at the Mater Private Emergency Care Centre in Brisbane. He was a general practitioner for eight years, training in "great practices" in Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast. Dr Patrick Clancy

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