Healthcare Risk Management: Raising Awareness & Safety In the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare risk management is an important task, and this week we celebrate healthcare risk managers who work so hard to keep patients and communities safe.

Risk management in healthcare is potentially more important than in any other industry. Why? Healthcare risk management can mean the difference between life and death, which makes this profession an integral one in patient safety. The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management celebrates healthcare risk management every June, and this week, facilities all over recognize risk managers that ensure patients receive trusted healthcare.

What is a healthcare risk manager?

A risk manager is often someone who has experience in handling risk-related issues in a healthcare setting. This manages and evaluates risks, which reduces the potential for injury to patients, staff members, and visitors. A risk manager also analyzes current risk management strategies.

Why are healthcare risk managers so important for patients and staff?

Risk managers work to identify risks that could lead to serious, preventable safety events such as falls or medication errors and work toward preventing these events from happening by using best practices that are known in healthcare to reduce risk. They communicate with patients’ families, interact with physicians and clinical staff, educate medical staff, board members, middle management and senior leadership and help put processes in place to reduce the risk of adverse events.

What role does medical waste management have in all of this?

Safety is a large part of every healthcare risk managers’ daily tasks.  This includes design improvements in lighting, flooring and assistive devices to reduce falls.  It also includes surface decontamination and hand-washing stations to prevent the spread of infection.  Part and parcel to infection control is proper medical waste disposal.

Medical waste packaging and labeling in a facility that deals with regulated medical waste is the responsibility of the facility itself, and this is how healthcare risk managers can help. Packaging includes sharps containers, biohazard containers, plastic bags, and reusable containers. Medical waste must be properly contained and marked for safety and infection control.

Healthcare risk managers should also ensure that medical waste containers are not stored in common areas that are available to common traffic. There should be an accumulation area designated for certain staff, and sharps containers must be stored on the wall properly and at the right height.

As you can see, partnering with healthcare risk management professionals results in improved insight, knowledge and value being added to the physical environment for safety and risk-reduction for patients, staff and communities.

To all of the healthcare risk managers from all of us at Red Bags, thank you for your service to your communities and patients.

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