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Risk Management Assessment
Risk management is a useful tool in health care settings as it helps to reduce potential costs, take a proactive approach, respond, and manage negative outcomes. The risk management strategies need to be tailored to the scope and complexity of the healthcare settings as well as the responsibilities of the project teams (Carroll, 2010, p.7). Implementation of risk management requires participation and commitment of stakeholders. The management maintains open communication and priority to all the stakeholders and the hospital staff to ensure safety of the patients and employees (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 150). The management teams share risk information that helps to make timely decisions. An effective risk management process is balanced in data needs and complexity so that active measures are taken. For better outcomes, the program requires minimum conditions and understandable and stated in unambiguous terms.
Healthcare institutions face numerous challenges in delivery of clinical mandates. Hospitals face special constraints as organizations with different levels of influence or control over the efforts of physicians who take care of patients in their organizations. The two major challenges affecting hospitals is lack of information technology and breakdown of equipment and systems (Kavaler, & Speige, 2003, p. 201). Information technology is significant in the provision of faster and quality services in hospitals. However, relative to other sectors, healthcare organization in the United States has often remained behind in the use of information technology in workplaces (Carroll, 2010, p. 9). Most hospitals in the U.S use paper-based clinical method environment.
Therefore, most documents are recorded on a clipboard in the patients’ room. In addition, pharmaceutical tests, prescriptions are written on a paper and x-rays are recorded on film. In this regard, the health care facilities are performing in the digital dark ages (Kavaler, & Speige, 2003, p. 202). Moreover, the adoption of IT poses a several security risks to a hospital such as internal breach of security, connecting IT of hospitals and remote facilities.
Research indicates that only 5 percent of hospitals in the United States use electronic prescribing tools. Lack of information technology in hospitals leads to increase in costs and reduces job opportunities (Carroll, 2010, p. 11). When hospitals fail to adopt new technology, the healthcare providers lack an opportunity to gain competitive advantage.
However, adoption of new technology leads to new risks into the healthcare sector. For instance, new technology poses environmental hazards that should be properly managed. In addition, failures of the system are very critical as it can produce life-threatening effects (Carroll, 2010, p. 12). Therefore, risks associated with technology should be given the highest priority as it can lead to significant dangers.
Risk management system to reduce technology-related challenges includes technological redundancy. For instance, a hospital should provide emergency electrical power to assist emergency critical care equipment, life safety equipment, elevators, and emergency lighting. According to disaster preparedness standards, emergency power (EP) needs to be accessible for the operations of these services for up to 96 hours (Kavaler, & Speige, 2003, p. 206). An EP system should involve three core components, which include the circuitry to spread the power, automatic transfer switches (ATSs) to distribute the electrical load and a generating plant.
When emergency power is switched on, equipment and lights experience a moment of power interruption, which can disrupt operations and procedures of critical care areas. In this respect, the best practice is to utilize uninterruptible power supply to connect the transition. It often uses a rechargeable batteries and electronic circuitry to supply continuous power (Kavaler, & Speige, 2003, p. 233). Most importantly, an Emergency Power system needs to apply as much internal redundancy as possible.
The effort will minimize the risk of failure from hospital equipment such as MRI machines, and CT scanners. Ultimately, technological redundancy will reduce adverse health outcomes for patients. The techniques for safety management and security risk in healthcare include, risk assessment, and root-cause analysis (RCA). Additionally, the firm should consider using methods such as technological redundancy (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 158).
Risk assessment begins by performing a general inventory of the security risks and safety affecting a health care facility. In this respect, the healthcare management team should focus on the safety of patients, controlling infections, hazardous wastes and materials and disaster preparedness (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 158). Moreover, it is very useful that health care, consider putting adequate structures to manage information, prevention of fire, and utilities management and medical equipment.
After risk identification, the leadership of the hospital needs to estimate the severity of the risk. Besides, they should match it with other forms of risk in order to determine the priority of corrective efforts (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 159). Moreover, they should employ a consistent methodology to determine the level of risk for every potential event. Applying a simple ordinal scale of between 1 and 5, a group of competent staff members should rate the event, depending on the severity of its effects, its possibility of occurrence and lack of capacity to deal with the problem. In addition, these rates are multiplied to produce a general risk score for the problem with is then matched with other events (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 159). Consequently, the event with the highest score is considered to have the highest level of risk to the hospital.
Elimination all types of risks is not possible, but health care professionals have a responsibility to protect patients by avoiding unnecessary risks. In addition, they should focus on risks that have a potential harm to the patients. Moreover, health care experts should maintain a simple risk assessment that does not apply complicated techniques for the type of assessed risks. A healthcare or clinical risk is a probability that an adverse outcome of a clinical treatment, investigation or patient care will occur (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 160). For every risk to be identified, it is significant to determine whether it is substantial or whether sufficient and appropriate contingencies are available to control it.
Risk assessment involves understanding not only what is likely to have an error but also to have a reason why it happened. The management should consider preventive activity within the context of emotional and physical environment and organizational culture as well as experts who perform the activity. Correct documentation is crucial since it provides a record that can be used in research. However, it is appropriate to accept a certain risk level if the risk from all the other options is even higher (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 161). Nonetheless, a risk is unacceptable if there is a reasonable alternative that provide benefits but reduces risk.
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a system-oriented analytic strategy that is applicable following an adverse event to prevent future occurrences. According to the Joint Commission, each sentinel event should go through an RCA (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 162). The core principles of RCA are that the majority of errors occurs due to basic flaws as opposed to individual carelessness in the way a system or a process in Poland.
Root-cause analysis demands that an RCA team respond to questions such as “What happened?” or “Why did it happen?” in the process of performing a comprehensive analysis. Root-cause analysis is beneficial because it explains the cause of clinical mistakes, system failures, failure in security procedures and safety. To identify chances for improvement process, RCA de-emphasizes the transfer of blame to individuals (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014, p. 162). For successful implementation of RCA technique, the participants should be confident that they would not suffer from any penalty for committing human errors.
Health care systems face many challenges in adoption of information technology systems and dealing with breakdown of systems. In fact, most hospitals have not adapted to the use of technology advancements. However, health care providers are increasingly deploying information technology systems that can help to establish new opportunities and minimize costs. Adoption of new technology helps the hospital to acquire competitive advantage. However, use of new technology introduces new risk into the facility that must be considered (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2014). In general, failure of healthcare-systems can lead to loss of life. Therefore, healthcare providers should be aware of these problems.
Carroll, R. (2010). Risk Management Handbook for Health Care Organizations, Student Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Kavaler, F., & Speige. (2003). Risk Management in Healthcare Institutions. A strategic approach. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning llc.
Kavaler, F., Alexander, R., & Kavaler, F. (2014). Risk management in healthcare institutions. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.