Managing Risk In Healthcare Programs Assessment Answer



The word risk may be defined as any situation in which some type of danger is involved. In the healthcare industry, the resource is the human being / patient. Thus, any risk to the patient is a risk to the healthcare industry. The challenges faced by the healthcare industry are multipronged. They may include Patient safety, government norms and regulations, medical complications arising out medical error and legislation impacting the healthcare industry. The list is not exhaustive. Indifference towards a comprehensive healthcare management can compromise the health of the patient, increase the liability risk to the healthcare provider, which ultimately leads to financial loss result to the provider.

Literature review     

The basis of healthcare risk management is to enhance the capability of the healthcare provider, extend the organizations capacity in reduction of patient error and enhance the process of quality improvement in healthcare.

Healthcare risk management as a subject had a humble start in 1970 when in the USA law that the quality of care provided by the hospital was a corporate liability established it. The medical staff and the health care provider were liable for the quality of care provided. (Singh and Ghatala 2012)

To access the healthcare encounters in Australia a research was undertaken. The research was carried out by administering computer assisted telephone interviews. A sample population of more than 1000 people was selected for the survey. The survey found that there were incidences of high excellence in South Australia and New South Wales. It also established the fact that certain aspects were well managed by the healthcare providers. It also found there was poor compliance of the guidelines established by Australia in cases of Community-acquired pneumonia, low back pain and hyperlipidaemia.   (Runciman 2012)

A study has also been conducted to identify the healthcare giver at risk of recurring complaints. The study spanned data from a 12-year period across seven areas of Australia. The study found that the number of complaints against the caregiver was highly skewed with professionals like male general practitioner and male plastic surgeon leading the pack. (Bismark 2013)

Hospital error is an inextricably problem that has plagued the healthcare industry. The errors mostly stem from weak organizational safety culture and are systemic in nature. Risk in healthcare can be reduced by providing for policies and practices that would motivate the pursuit of safety. This enables a safety climate, which enacts improved patient safety. This in turn gives rise to safety culture, which reduces the hospital errors. The reduction in hospital errors calls for more of safe behaviors in the hospital. Thus enabling and enacting a safety climate and culture in the hospital. All this helps in reduction of healthcare risk. To enable a safety culture there should be a motivation to reduce the hospital errors. This requires safer practices by the care giver. The factors responsible for enabling reduction in hospital errors are government regulations  and organizational practices. Learning from errors can substantially reduce the risks and errors. Education singularly or in combination may be used to reduce medical errors. Healthcare providers have learnt from industrial safety principles and thus have improved process reliability. (Singer and Vogus 2013)

In spite of all the best efforts of all the stakeholders in the healthcare industry the industry is prone to errors.  Under these circumstances, healthcare risk managers have an important role to play.  The healthcare industry has still has a long way to go in minimizing the risks since it is still searching what works and what doesn’t. (Card, Ward and Clarkson 2012)

Research aim

The aim of the research is to evaluate the risks involved in management of a healthcare institution.

Research question

The research question for this assignment is as follows:

  • What are the safety cultures present in the healthcare industry
  • How is safety being promoted by the organization?
  • What are the specific strategies being implemented for risk management?

Research objective

The objective of the research is as follows:

  • To explore the ways in which medical error data is reported, analysed and used
  • To examine the work conditions of the healthcare providers
  • To create an environment of patient safety

Research methodology         

Primary data will be collected from Healthcare providers. The data will be in the form of a survey questionnaire (refer Appendix for survey questionnaire). The survey questionnaire form is chosen because of its psychometric properties. Survey questions have already been used in the Intensive care units for accessing the safety culture. The results of previous surveys have been used to benchmark safety in health care institutions. (Chaboyer 2013) The focus of the questionnaire would be on safety culture, job satisfaction, stress recognition and working conditions. The survey answers would be in the form of a Likert scale.  Regression analysis will be used to measure the organizational factors. (Richter, McAlearney and Pennell 2016.) This would give the correlation between the factors responsible for healthcare risk and the implementation of safety programs.

Expected research outcome 

The study will demonstrate the presence of presence medical errors in the health care industry, the process of reporting of medical errors. It will provide insight into the frequency of occurrence of medical incidents and the follow-up methods. With the increase in stress on health care providers there will be instances of medical errors.

The research will show that with progressive implementation of healthcare management initiatives there has been positive service delivery, improved safety, patient satisfaction, healthcare provider satisfaction change in knowledge and skills of the staff and healthcare provider. (ACHS 2013)


The profession of healthcare risk management has grown drastically in the past decade. This has increased our knowledge on risk management processes. Thus there has been a reduction in patient errors and increase in patient safety. This has been evidenced by the effectiveness and timeliness of delivery of healthcare. This has increased the efficiency of the hospitals. The healthcare management has become more patient centric. The research into healthcare management has substantially improved the quality of healthcare, prompted research into better management of patients, given rise to newer techniques in the field of healthcare. More importantly it has given rise to quality systems and benchmarking of processes in the healthcare industry.


Richter, J.P., McAlearney, A.S. and Pennell, M.L., 2016. The influence of organizational factors on patient safety: Examining successful handoffs in health care. Health care management review, 41(1), pp.32-41.

Chaboyer, W., Chamberlain, D., Hewson-Conroy, K., Grealy, B., Elderkin, T., Brittin, M., McCutcheon, C., Longbottom, P. and Thalib, L., 2013. CNE article: safety culture in Australian intensive care units: establishing a baseline for quality improvement. American journal of critical care, 22(2), pp.93-102.

The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), Risk Management and Quality Improvement Handbook. Sydney Australia; ACHS; 2013.

Singer, S.J. and Vogus, T.J., 2013. Reducing hospital errors: interventions that build safety culture. Annual review of public health, 34, pp.373-396.

Singh, B. and Ghatala, M.H., 2012. Risk management in hospitals. International journal of innovation, management and technology, 3(4), p.417.

Runciman, W.B., Hunt, T.D., Hannaford, N.A., Hibbert, P.D., Westbrook, J.I., Coiera, E.W., Day, R.O., Hindmarsh, D.M., McGlynn, E.A. and Braithwaite, J., 2012. CareTrack: assessing the appropriateness of health care delivery in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 197(10), p.549.

Bismark, M.M., Spittal, M.J., Gurrin, L.C., Ward, M. and Studdert, D.M., 2013. Identification of doctors at risk of recurrent complaints: a national study of healthcare complaints in Australia. BMJ quality & safety, pp.bmjqs-2012.

Card, A., Ward, J. and Clarkson, P. (2012). Getting to Zero: Evidence-based healthcare risk management is key. J of Healthcare Risk Mgmt, 32(2), pp.20-27.

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