Top 3 Reasons to Get an Office Practice Risk Assessment


Dealing with any type of survey or risk assessment of your organization can feel like a hassle. Filling out forms and completing paperwork causes headaches, and it’s not as if a risk assessment will tell you anything you don’t already know, right?

Wrong.


Taking time to conduct an annual “wellness check-up” of your office practice each year can help identify small problems before they turn into large claims. Let us help take away the dread by showing you how an annual risk assessment can help lower your professional liability risks–keeping away headaches instead of causing them.


1. You know where you stand.

To get anywhere professionally, you need to know where you are and where you are going.

A risk assessment serves that exact purpose for your organization. It helps to evaluate current practices (where you are) in your organization against best practices (where you are going) that are expected. In other words, you will have a benchmark on how your practice stacks up by using a risk assessment tool. Using that benchmark, you then have a better idea of the risks your practice faces and the pain points that should be addressed as soon as possible.

Establishing the current state of your practice can be done in one large comprehensive risk assessment or it can be done in smaller, more manageable components. For example, you might choose one critical process to evaluate at a time, such as patient flow through the organization, test, and consultation follow-up, or medication administration.

Whichever method you use to tackle the project, your approach will identify and address risks to employees and patients. You can then take action to correct the problems you uncover.


2. You are in control of the process.

Risk assessment is a proactive risk management tool, meant to identify issues before they result in actual injury. A proactive approach is always beneficial, unlike reactive methods that address issues only after an employee or patient injury has already occurred.

If you are currently taking a reactive approach to problems by only addressing problems as they come up, you are not facilitating a culture of safety within your organization. Being proactive puts you in control of processes through understanding how problematic processes can break down and taking decisive action to minimize the resulting risks.

Risk assessments — from small and focused to large and comprehensive — are proactive practices that give your organization time to evaluate critical processes. This allows you to carefully consider each step in a process, including what could happen if something goes wrong and how it would then be handled.


3. You can identify opportunities for staff education.

In healthcare, we are resigned to the fact that we are lifelong learners. Since healthcare is a science, processes are ever-changing and we are always seeking more efficient, effective ways to provide safer higher quality care. That’s why identifying opportunities for staff education is always important.

During a risk assessment, talking with staff members about critical processes is a crucial component of the evaluation. In addition to learning about the effectiveness of your processes from the people who practice them daily, you can also assess how well they know your organizational policies through interaction and discussion.

Most organizations excel in establishing policies about how things should be done. Policies are important because they set forth a standard of service or care delivery employees are expected to adhere to.

However, it’s difficult to ensure that all people in the organization are following your policies all the time. Take advantage of the risk assessment process to interact with staff members to determine their knowledge of and compliance with your organization’s established policies.


Need A Risk Assessment?

LHA Trust Funds offers an on-site risk assessment for members upon request. Please call Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Stacie Jenkins at 225.368.3823 or email staciejenkins@lhatrustfunds.com to schedule yours today.

Are you more of a do-it-yourselfer? Use our online self-assessment tool at your own pace.


Stacie Jenkins 150

About The Author

Stacie Jenkins, RN, MSN, CPSO
Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk, LHA Trust Funds

Stacie Jenkins is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing informatics. She has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare, working in patient care and quality/performance improvement positions. As director of quality and patient safety for the LHA Trust Funds, she works closely with hospital administrators, risk managers and nursing staff to improve patient safety and establish best practices. She conducts on-site assessments and gives presentations designed to help clients address their patient safety risk management challenges.

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