Download a PDF of the Current Issue 2015 Volume 12 Number 3 July- September

License Not Required to Practice Risk Management

Jan Rebstock, RHIT, LHRM, CPHRM
3-3-2   Risk management is one of the few professions health care staff on all levels can practice without a license. The reason is that risk identification and loss prevention is not a task relegated to a titled few; it is one of those fundamental responsibilities we all share as part of a health care team. Each time you explain a procedure to a patient, check for allergies, verify patient identification prior to treatment, perform a surgical count, mop up a spill, hold a trembling hand or perform any other random act of kindness; you are practicing risk management. Risk Management by nature, is often a reactive response to reported events with the silver lining being identification of areas which can be improved. However, the gold standard of an effective risk management program is the ability to avert or preempt a potential loss or unexpected outcome. To achieve that standard, risk managers rely on those who can best evaluate and assess health care practices on an ongoing basis; those who render daily care and services. Granted, there is no dearth of policies and procedures to follow, professional practice and regulatory standards with which to comply or quality and patient-safety related committees to whom to report or provide oversight in the quest for improved patient care. Yet, risk reduction efforts are undoubtedly more successful when they invite voluntary recommendations and creative ideas for positive change before an undesirable event occurs. So feel free to practice risk management, feel empowered and motivated to challenge the status quo by reviewing processes through the critical eye of expertise, feel compelled to suggest and implement solutions that will prevent or minimize risk. After all, risk management is an intrinsic part of what health care professionals do.