Risk is inherent in providing health care services. We will always deal with a certain amount of risk as we go about our work of caring for patients each day. Discuss at least two specific healthcare projects, services, or processes that come with significant risk. As CEO of your own health care facility, how would you work to reduce risk in these areas?
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Two examples of health care projects that pose organizational risk are 1) the implementation of an electronic health record system (EHR) to replace an existing paper-based system; and 2) implementation of telehealth services. In these examples, there can be a physical risk that accompanies placement of new equipment, such as physical plant and clinic layout changes that may cause trips and falls, which can result in staff and patient injuries. Another physical risk could be physiological impacts to staff using the equipment, such as whether the new equipment is ergonomically sound for daily use, and if not, the potential impact to lost days of work due to injury. Financial risks to be considered include the cost of new equipment and ongoing maintenance, the cost of specialized training, and the cost to provide temporary help or vendor consultations to support staff while they’re trying to get over the learning curve. Another financial risk concerns the privacy of health information as there are fines associated with breaches, as well as a loss of trust from patients and their families. Psychological risk can include providers who are being asked to use new technology, which may be difficult to adapt to and cause frustration; or remote encounters via telehealth that negatively affect the behavior of both staff and patients, or their patient-provider relationships.
As an administrator, a comprehensive risk assessment would need to be conducted before taking major changes to the delivery of health care services. The risk assessment would include: identifying potential harm (i.e., physical, psychological or financial), identifying who could be harmed; determining risk levels, identifying mitigating factors already in place and new precautions to be put into place, consultation with stakeholders who can be impacted; completing a cost-benefit analysis, arriving at final decision, and documenting the entire risk assessment process, findings and decisions
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