Concept of Hospital Risk Management Program

Concept of Hospital Risk Management Program

Reynaldo O. Joson, MD, MHA, MHPEd, MSc Surg

If one looks at the literature, there is a lot of varying definitions on the word “risk.”

However, the predominant generic definition is one given by businessdictionary.com which states that:

Risk is a probability or threat of a damage, injury, liability, loss, or other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be neutralized through preemptive action.  http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/risk.html

With the indulgence of everybody, I will use this definition of risk for the moment and make the necessary adjustment later on as indicated.

Hospital risk management program is a program that manages the “risks” of the hospital.

So, what are the “risks” that are being encountered in a hospital setting?

To answer this question, one has to do a risk identification.  One has to identify all potential hazards or threats that occur within the vicinity of the hospital that can cause damage, injury, liability, loss or other negative occurrence of whatever forms and degrees.  The identification of hazards which are intimately associated with and are prerequisites for risks, must be done in a way that is systematic and systemic or comprehensive.   The hazards identified are usually myriad in number but  can be lumped into a manageable number of categories like natural hazards; man-related hazards; technology-related hazards; and biological hazards.  They can also be lumped into a manageable number of categories of risks, such as:

1.    Risk for natural disasters (earthquake, flood, tsunamis, fire, etc.)

2.    Risk for man-related disasters (fire, felony, bomb threat, terrorism, etc.)

3.    Risk for technology-related disasters

4.    Risk for biological disasters

5.    Risk for medico-legal suits (arising from patient care)

6.    Risk for non-medico-legal suits (not arising from patient care such as strike)

7.    Risk for excessive accounts receivables

8.    Risk for tarnished corporate reputation

After  hazard and risk identification, assessment is done as to their likelihood of occurrence and impact when they occur.  This process is called risk assessment or evaluation.  Although the utility of risk assessment or evaluation is more on prioritization of action plans, as a matter of good practice, all hazards and risks identified by the hospital must have a preventive, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery plans.

All hospitals must have a proactive or preemptive management program for all their identified hazards and risks.  There must also be day-to-day identification and monitoring of new and specific hazards that may occur outside the initial risk identification and assessment.

Thus, the hospital risk management program essentially consists of risk identification, risk assessment, followed by plans for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The goals and objectives of the hospital risk management program ….. (to be continued)


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