As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, your medical and support team needs to work even harder to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Your team might be using the most proven procedures and standards available, mistakes can still happen. The risks you need to manage are real and cannot be ignored.
Every practice is unique. Your level of risk varies based on your unique vulnerabilities and liabilities. To avoid hurting patients and / or devastating your bottom line you need a plan. If you don’t have a plan, it could seem overwhelming. You should start by determining your level of risk. Answer these questions to get started:
1. What could go wrong?
Create a comprehensive list of potential ways patient safety could be compromised, medical errors could occur or compliance with requirements could fail.
List everything that can contribute to potential adverse events.
2. What is the likelihood?
Answering this question for each area of risk, provides your team with a prioritized list of what needs addressed. Those that are higher ranked in potentiality are the items / potential errors ranked highest in priority.
3. How catastrophic will it be?
Assigning each area of risk a rating from minor inconvenience to major law suit, helps to drill down the priority list even further. While all areas of risk should be addressed, those that have the most crippling potential should be addressed first.
4. How do we prevent this from happening?
Some areas are easy to mitigate while others cannot be avoided. Some areas might take minutes to correct while others need comprehensive procedural review and resolution. Make sure that whatever the process is that it is clearly documented and communicated.
5. What can we do to make this less crippling to our practice?
Evaluate existing policies and procedures that address mistakes or issues with risk. Are they being adhered to and well documented? Would you be confident in your team’s response when an error occurs?
6. Who is responsible for what?
You can’t assign addressing risk to one person on your team. Eliminating and reducing risk needs to be an all-team effort spearheaded by practice leadership. Have you trained your team appropriately? Have you communicated what needs to be accomplished? Is risk management a major part of your work environment and culture?
7. Do we need an outside evaluation?
Many healthcare providers find value in engaging outside experts who can view their practices from a new perspective and identify risks doctors and staff might have overlooked. An independent evaluation and action plan also take the pressure off staff members who might lack confidence in pointing out inefficiencies.
Ultimately, identifying areas of risk should be viewed as opportunities to make improvements. Having a plan will better equip your team to minimize risks, enable team members to prove their grounded in patient safety and help them focus on what matters most – providing quality care.
Want to get started but not sure where to begin? We are prepared and ready to help. Contact us HERE for a free initial evaluation.
For information about risk provided by the American Medical Association visit HERE