Medical Expert Witness On Clinical Standards Part 4

In Clinical Standards in Medicine medical expert witness Barry E. Gustin, MD, MPH, FAAEM, writes:

Potential limitations should be recognized and dealt with such as the possibility that a particular standard becomes obsolete because of new discoveries or advances; or situations where environmental factors such as disaster, overcrowding, or multiple high acuity emergencies negate the applicability of standard clinical policies. Likewise, policy standards can never supersede the physician’s clinical judgement which must be taken as the final word in making patient care decisions. This is because of the immense number of clinical variables and continually changing circumstances in both stable and unstable patients with complex multifactorial systemic medical problems.

For maximum effectiveness and utility, it is clear that standards should be developed in the areas that place the patient at highest risk for death or debility. For the physician, these are often the areas of greatest liability. Also, it is important that standards are developed for common presenting complaints rather than for obscure uncommon entities. Finally, because cost-containment has become a central issue, clinical standards should also target those conditions or situations that may result in high charges.