Definition of Health Care Risk Management


Health care risk management is defined as an effort to reduce and assess risks to patients, staff, and organizational assets within a health care institution. Facilities want to reduce accidents and injuries to minimize financial loss. Risk management is a process that all health care facilities and providers implement on a continuing basis.


Risk management provides benefits to the health care providers, staff, and patients. Employees are educated in patient safety and guidelines to lessen negligence. They are also entitled to receive workers compensation when injured. Health care providers try to satisfy the patient, which is a benefit for them and the patient because it lowers lawsuits and optimizes care. "According to the 1994 national survey conducted by the National Research Corporation, they surveyed ten thousand households. Overall quality of care ranked as number one, followed by patient satisfaction."


Health care risk management is the process in assuring that those who are medically covered receive all the proper health care services that they need subject to contract. This is also done at the most cost-effective level for the health care provider. Risk management is an ongoing process due to patient complaints, unexpected treatment outcomes, possible liability, and violations. Financial viability is the bottom line, while at the same time trying to provide adequate care to the patient.


Risk management professionals are always searching for ways to enhance efforts to ensure overall safety, because they work in an environment that is constantly changing. Some patients do receive different care depending on their insurance coverage, but safety is a priority. Risk managers must be aware of and address potential liabilities of all kinds every day that relates to both patient and staff. "Medical organizations are required to inform their staff of all potential dangers under the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA)." It's an enforced policy in the United States.


Medical malpractice is controversy and if pursued in the court of law can be a lengthy legal process. When malpractice occurs, the patient's health has been jeopardized, and there may have been a failure on the part of the health care provider. "According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, as of November 1999, they estimate that as many as 98,000 patients may be killed each year in hospitals as a result of medical errors." Health care risk management is an involved procedure put in place to protect the health care providers, provide employees with necessary tools and knowledge, and provide a safe environment for the patient. Due to unforeseen circumstances in the medical field, methods and techniques are implemented that cover a broad range of challenges, like reducing medical errors, improving patient safety, and staying on top of federal and state legislation and regulations.