Select a health care organization in your community to conduct an interview with an appropriate risk management employee. The organization can be your current employer, or a different health care facility in your community. Acute care, urgent care, large multi-provider private medical clinics, assisted living facilities, and community/public health clinical facilities are all ideal options to complete the requirements of this assignment. Make sure to select an individual who can provide sufficient information regarding how that organization manages risk within its facility to answer the questions below.
In your interview, address the following:
- Identification of the challenges the organization faces in controlling infectious diseases.
- Risk management strategies used in the organization’s infection control program, along with specific examples.
- How the facility’s educational risk management program addresses key professional issues, such as prevention of negligence, malpractice litigation, and vicarious liability.
- Policies the facility has implemented that address managing emergency triage in high-risk areas of health care service delivery.
- Strategies the facility utilizes to monitor and maintain its risk management program.
Post-interview, compose a 750-1,000 word summary analysis of the interview to include the questions above as well as the following elements:
- A brief assessment of the organization’s risk management program, including what works well and what could work better (the pros and cons).
- Action steps you would take to improve the program. Select one area and provide your rationale and possible steps required to implement your suggestion.
Risk management is a top priority in our organization. The organization I work for is community based and risk management is critical to enhance patient safety and ensure the organization attains its strategic goals. Although risk management is a collective effort by all employees in the organization, risk management is headed by manager of quality assurance, who oversees the operations aimed at preventing occurrence of adverse events that could be injurious to the safety of both employees and the staff. This paper explores how risk management is undertaken in the organization. To deduce relevant information concerning risk management, the head of quality assurance, the employee in charge of risk management in the organization was interviewed and the responses noted.
The first question sought to identify the challenges that the organization faces in controlling infectious diseases. In response, the head of quality assurance admitted that controlling infections in the organization was indeed a challenge. The main challenge was that the organization mainly handles elderly patients. Empirical research evidence indicates that elderly patients are prone to infectious because of various factors. These include low immunity which increases susceptibility to infections. Secondly, prescription of a wide variety of drugs and poly pharmacy destabilizes the internal microbial environment, thereby increasing susceptibility to infections (Hollnagel, Braithwaite & Wears, 2014). Additionally, the effect of antibiotic resistance, which results from unregulated and indiscriminate intake of drugs becomes particularly more evident in old age (Spath & Kelly, 2017). This undermines the efficacy of the existing drugs applied to treat the infections, making it challenging to control the diseases in the community based setting.
The second question inquired about the existing risk management strategies applied in the organization’s infection control program. The head of quality assurance identified several strategies, including hand washing, promoting environmental hygiene and frequent surveillance. Hand washing strategies applied in the organization complies with the recommended hand washing guidelines and procedures. This includes hand rubbing using soap and running water, rinsing the hands and then drying the hands properly using a single use towel. In the organization, hand washing is a standard procedure used by the healthcare professionals before and after making direct contact with the patients; after removal of hand gloves and prior to handling invasive equipment or devices. Additionally, it is a standard procedure for the healthcare professionals to wash their hands after handling patient’s secretions, including saliva, blood and other body fluids. Promoting environmental hygiene and safety as a strategy of controlling infections entails thorough cleaning and drying of the surfaces using detergents. Additionally, the organization ensures proper cleaning and handling of used linen, proper disposal of waste and ensuring the facility is well ventilated (Balbir & Ghatala, 2012).
The third question inquired the extent at which the organization’s education risk management program addresses key professional issues, such as negligence, malpractice litigation and vicarious liability. In the healthcare facility, educational risk management program address the professional issues in various ways. These includes sensitizing the employees on the importance of observing the professional code of conduct and frequent training and retraining of the healthcare professionals on the various standard operation procedures to prevent medical errors and other adverse events that could undermine patient safety. In regards to malpractice litigation, the head of quality assurance revealed that the organization is yet to face malpractice litigation during his tenure. However, the organizations educational risk management program outlines the standard procedure and actions that a healthcare professionals face when confronted with malpractice charges. This includes suspension from work pending determination of the litigation and in some cases dismissal from the organization.
The policies that the organization has implemented in managing emergency triage in high risk areas of healthcare delivery include Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In regards to the EMTALA policy, the organization is under obligation to deliver healthcare services to all patients and does not engage in patient dumping. However, compliance with the EMTALA depends on various conditions, including the setting in which the patient is situated and confirmation of the availability or lack of the emergency clinical condition as outlines in the EMTALA.
The main strategy that the organization uses to monitor and maintain its risk management program includes frequent review of the program by external agencies. In this case, the organization frequently reviews its program against the established standards set by regulatory bodies involved in monitoring patient safety in healthcare facilities across the country. Secondly, the organization frequently uses the recommended international standard safety guidelines to benchmark against its existing risk management program. Additionally, the organization uses the established professional code of ethics in monitoring and maintenance of the risk management program.
From the interview, it is evident that the organization has implemented pragmatic measures in its risk management program to address various hazards, particularly infections. One of the strengths of the risk management program is the implementation of policies that complies with the established regulations of promoting patient safety in the country. This includes guidelines of preventing infections and providing healthcare services in emergency settings. However, the main shortcoming of the program is that its education risk program does not involve key stakeholders, including patient and their families.
Balbir , S., & Ghatala , H.(2012). Risk management in hospitals. International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, 3(4): 417- 421.
Hollnagel, E., Braithwaite, J, & Wears, R. (2014). Resilient health care. Surrey, England: Ashgate.
Spath, P., & Kelly, D.(2017). Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Systems Approach, 4th Edition. AUPHA/HAP.