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Risk Management for Healthcare Clinics


Since healthcare clinics treat a wide variety of conditions, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension, it is imperative healthcare clinics ensure that patients receive the appropriate level of care. Additionally, many healthcare clinics also provide obstetric care, a high-risk area.

Risk management for healthcare clinics includes any activity, process, or policy designed to reduce liability exposure. This involves all aspects of a healthcare clinics infrastructure and services, including clinical care, financial matters, facility maintenance, fire safety, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Top risk management issues for healthcare clinics are:

  1. Communication
    • Test results reporting and tracking
    • E-mail
    • Physician-to-physician communication
    • Patient education

  2. Obstetrical risk management

  3. Special patient concerns
    • Newborns
    • Minors
    • Elderly
    • Pregnant patients

Not only must a healthcare clinic risk management plan be designed to support the mission and vision of the clinic as it pertains to clinical risk and patient safety, but it also must address visitor, third party, volunteer, and employee safety. Additional considerations are potential business, operational, and property risks.

For a successful risk management program, management, providers, volunteers, and staff must operate as a team with all members participating in risk management protocols. This means that team members must be comfortable with the following:

  • Readily and proactively identifying unsafe conditions and hazards
  • Reporting or analyzing medical or patient care errors
  • Opening discussing mistakes
  • Making suggestions for systemic improvements

The goals and objectives of a patient safety and risk management program for a healthcare clinic are:

  • To continuously improve patient safety and minimize and/or prevent the occurrence of events, errors, and system breakdowns that can lead to harm for patients, staff, volunteers, visitors, and others through proactive risk management and patient safety activities.
  • To minimize adverse effects of errors, events, and system breakdowns when they do occur.
  • To minimize losses to the organization overall by proactively preventing, identifying, controlling, and analyzing potential clinical, business, and operational risks.
  • To assure compliance with regulatory, legal, and accrediting agency requirements.
  • To protect human and intangible resources, such as reputation.

There are 16 risk management practices that healthcare clinics should include in their risk management program to reduce medical malpractice claims and ensure patient safety.

  1. Establish an active quality improvement program – includes reviewing clinical outcome data and conducting long-term projects aimed at improving clinical care.
  2. Appropriate use of clinical protocols – establishing guidelines for providing clinical care that healthcare practitioners use.
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