Healthcare risk management traditionally focuses on the critical aim of patient safety and the mitigation of medical errors or negligence that jeopardize organization goodwill to avoid claims causing financial liability. However, with the expansion of the role of healthcare technologies, increased cybersecurity concerns, the fast pace of medical science, and the industry’s ever-changing regulatory, legal, and political conditions, healthcare risk management has become more complex over time.
Therefore, it is vital to induce risk management strategies, especially in the medical profession, as consequences can be dire.
How To Implement Risk Management
Many medical risks can be mitigated by providing proper training to physicians and staff, encouraging healthy communication among staff-members, providing counseling services for those working with patients, and conducting competency assessments.
Here are the steps to effective risk management to avoid liability claims:
1. Risk Identification
Since risk management involves managing uncertainty while new risks are continuously emerging, it is challenging to recognize all the threats a medical entity will face. However, in modern times, through the use of data, institutional and industry knowledge, and by engaging everyone — patients, employees, administrators, healthcare risk managers can uncover threats and potentially compensate for events that otherwise would be hard to anticipate.
2. Proper Education & Training
Risk management plans need to detail employee training requirements which should include new employee orientation, ongoing and in-service training, annual review and competency validation, and event-specific training.
3. Purpose of Risk Management
Risk management strategies should clearly define the purpose and benefits of a plan. Specific goals to reduce liability claims, near misses, and the overall cost of the organization’s risk should also be well-articulated. Additionally, reporting on quantifiable and actionable data should be detailed and mandated by the plan.
4. Quantify Risks
Once you identify the risks, it is crucial to prioritize them based on the impact they can cause. The next step is to allocate resources and take the necessary measures to lessen the impact.
5. Learn from Near Misses
When you avoid a possible mistake through sheer luck, it is the best way to learn from to identify and prevent risks in the future. Medical professionals should develop a culture that encourages reporting to begin prevention measures at the right time.
6. Record retention
Keeping patient record files for an extended period or indefinitely is useful for monitoring patient health, even when patients are not actively seeking care. Risk management protocol should also have plans in place for disposing of records following federal mandates.
7. Risk Financing/Transfer/Retention
Risk financing involves an organization’s methods for efficiently and effectively funding loss that results from risk. It includes risk transfer usually through insurance policies such as doctors professional indemnity insurance and risk retention such as self-insurance and captive insurance.
Why Doctor’s Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Doctor’s Professional Indemnity Insurance or Errors & Omissions (E&O) covers doctors and other medical staff from professional risks and related legal expenses. It provides indemnity in case the patient sustains injury, harm, or even death due to the advice provided by the medical practitioner. Negligence or medical malpractice is the most common accusation among doctors.
Doctor’s Professional Indemnity Coverages:
- Cover for legal liabilities that includes compensation to be paid, defense costs, investigation fees.
- Coverage against claims arising out of death or injury caused due to medical negligence or errors.
However, professional indemnity insurance for doctors will not cover events such as criminal acts or resulting fines, use of drugs, any fraudulent acts, or any condition associated with AIDS.
Additional Read: Exclusions under the doctors professional indemnity insurance
It is not that the doctor is always at fault. Therefore, in the medical profession, it is crucial to get the right insurance for financial protection.