Risk is all around us. This is why, in the world of healthcare, so much focus is placed on mitigating risk in order to keep patients and staff safe. It’s important, however, to keep in mind that it’s impossible to eliminate risk completely but any effort put towards mitigation can be tremendously positive. The problem is that the options of how we can mitigate risk in healthcare are endless–somewhere someone is doing it better and faster.
So, what can you do or where do you start? Well, having the right policies and procedures in place is the first step to ensuring proper efforts are in place to protect every person that sets foot in your facility. Policies and procedures, after all, act as a guiding light for staff when direction is needed, and of course help with maintaining compliance. Here are 3 surefire ways to mitigate healthcare risk with policies and procedure management.
Linking your policies to mitigate risk in healthcare
Having systems that can work with one another can do wonders for safety. Lack thereof can compromise patient safety, undermine quality of care, and can contribute to staff fatigue. Choosing technology that supports interoperability can help organizations access data and validate solutions quicker to help facilitate care of coordination and reduce staff workload. For example, linking your policies with a Learning Management System(LMS) to include hyperlinks to educational videos, website links, and other documents will make it easier for frontline staff to access materials at the point of patient care.
Set alerts to review and update policies
Too often, policies and procedures are written and forgotten. With hundreds, sometimes thousands, of policies and procedures to manage it’s no wonder that some policies often go unchecked. Unfortunately, in the end out of date policies can lead to non-compliance and worse yet, can put safety at risk. A good policy and procedure automation tool will allow you to set up frequent reminders to review and update policies as need be. This way, nothing falls through the cracks and you’ll always have the peace of mind of knowing your organization is following the latest accreditation and industry practices.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Following industry standard and talking to other risk managers is a great way to get a leg-up to anticipate common risks, but since no two organizations are the same or operate the exact same way risks can differ. Keep an open dialogue with staff, they are in the end in the trenches, to help identify problem areas that can be addressed by creating policies or procedures specific to your organization’s workflow. You can make it safe by keeping grievances anonymous or make it a fun departmental challenge where staff can vote or rank what changes are most important to them. In the end, if you’re going to ask for suggestions be sure to let staff know they’re being heard.
Mistakes and accidents happen, this is a fact of life. The difference lies in knowing you did everything in your power to prevent said risk or knowing you didn’t. In the end, as we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to anticipate everything to mitigate risk in healthcare, but every step we take to keep someone safe is a step in the right direction. What’s important to note here, is that this is not a do first, mandate later scenario–with something like safety it’s important to build a strong foundation of policy and procedure and build up to ensure the best possible outcomes.