Risk managers are on the side of physicians, here’s why:
By Jill Adams, MedPro
Risks are an acknowledged component of the healthcare industry. As we face that fact in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, it has become increasingly clear that lack of preparation and education on risk topics can lead to detrimental results. Conversely, a strong risk management program is capable of reducing patient harm, decreasing liability and improving quality of care and patient satisfaction. It is at this juncture that a strong risk manager – or risk management team – can facilitate performance improvement in a variety of inpatient and outpatient healthcare settings.
“Potential clients often ask the benefit of a risk manager,” says Christine M. Hoskin, RN, MS, CPHRM, Senior Patient Safety and Risk Consultant at MedPro Group. “I tell them that risk managers are resources who have the ability to take a step back and look at things differently than other team members. Their role is not to shut down ideas because they are too risky but to evaluate the situation to see where risk exists and then develop ideas to reduce the risk exposure.”
Indeed, whether providing advice on a specific risk issue, presenting an educational program, or developing a diverse range of resources, risk managers are instrumental in helping healthcare providers, leaders, and staff better understand potential safety and risk issues, prioritize action items, and demonstrate measurable improvement. But as staff members, risk managers often have hectic schedules and somewhat limited resources, creating the need for additional expertise.
“Internal risk managers can benefit tremendously from the aid of a Patient Safety & Risk Management Consultant,” says Hoskin. “The role of a consultant is to serve as a collaborator. For example, my role is to be a resource for an internal risk manager to use as needed, whether that may be a phone call to discuss an adverse event or advice on formulating a response to an angry patient. Other consultation examples include helping a risk manager develop ideas while responding to a state survey or reviewing policies and forms. A risk management consultant can also conduct risk assessments or serve as a speaker for topics such as social media, confidentiality, consent, and numerous other subjects. The main thing to remember is that these consultants are an extension of an internal risk manager with resources across the nation to tap as needed.”
Risk management consultants have experience working closely with healthcare providers, leaders, and staff on numerous risk issues: disruptive behavior, informed consent/refusal, credentialing/privileging, infection control, documentation, patient compliance, EHR utilization and disclosure of unanticipated events are a few examples.
“A risk management consultant is a valuable resource,” says Graham Billingham, Chief Medical Officer at MedPro. “If you’re seeking a consultant or risk management team, there are a few key attributes you should look for: a proactive approach; a breadth of experience; a focus on improved outcomes, patient safety and human factors engineering and designing safe practices; tools that use evidence-based research, best practice guidelines, practical tool kits and predictive analytics; and risk management that encompasses the entire enterprise (Enterprise Risk Management). In addition to that, you want a consultant who is an excellent listener and seeks to understand your specific needs and challenges.”
“Remember one important fact,” adds Billingham. “The key to successful risk management is preventing errors before they occur.”
Interested in gauging your awareness of risk issues associated with your practice setting? Click the link to take MedPro’s Patient Safety & Risk Solutions Quick Quiz: http://www.medpro.com/quick-quiz
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The information provided in this document should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Because the facts applicable to your situation may vary, or the regulations applicable in your jurisdiction may be different, please contact your attorney or other professional advisors if you have any questions related to your legal or medical obligations or rights, state or federal statutes, contract interpretation, or legal questions.
MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. MedPro Group’s patient safety and risk consultants provide risk management services on behalf of all MedPro Group members. © 2016 MedPro Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.