Risk Management Tools & Resources

 

 

Inadequate Test Tracking Process Leads to Delay in Cancer Diagnosis

Inadequate Test Tracking Process Leads to Delay in Cancer Diagnosis

Well-designed office systems are critical to the provision of safe, high-quality patient care. This case study from an OB/GYN practice in the Midwest illustrates how system failures can be detrimental to a patient's health.

The patient was a 37-year-old female who had unwittingly contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The circumstances of her situation did not lead her to suspect an infection. She presented to her gynecologist, Dr. A, in November of Year 1 for a Pap smear test. The results indicated "epithelial cell abnormality, with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance." The report recommended a repeat Pap smear in 3–6 months if clinically indicated. However, the physician never reviewed or signed off on the report. It was included in the patient’s health record, but not flagged as a critical result.

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15 Strategies for Tackling the Top Malpractice Allegation in Gynecology

15 Strategies for Tackling the Top Malpractice Allegation in Gynecology

MedPro Group data show that allegations related to surgical treatment represent the largest claims category for gynecology providers (73 percent of all gynecology claims closed between 2005 and 2014). Surgical treatment allegations also account for almost two-thirds of all dollars paid for expense and indemnity costs in gynecology claims.

Within these surgical treatment allegations, the top issue cited is improper performance of surgery, which accounts for 8 out of 10 surgical treatment claims. These allegations most often are the result of a known complication of a procedure (e.g., a bowel or bladder laceration); however, these situations often are complicated by a failure to recognize and act upon patients' changing postoperative clinical conditions.

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Ensuring HIPAA Compliance in Text Messaging

Marcy A. Metzgar

Passwords: Ensuring HIPAA Compliance in Text Messaging

The use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in patient care — termed "mHealth" — is a significant trend in the healthcare industry. Older technology, such as pagers, is slow compared to devices today; thus, many healthcare providers and staff members find that text messaging provides quick access to the information they need to make healthcare decisions.

Yet, healthcare providers and staff need to be cognizant of privacy and security concerns when using text messaging. Typical short message service (SMS) texting does not offer the security necessary for sending protected health information (PHI). As a result, patient privacy might be compromised if unauthorized individuals can view texted data.

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Passwords: A New Approach to an Old-School Security Strategy

Laura M. Cascella, MA

Passwords: A New Approach to an Old-School Security Strategy

In the current healthcare technology landscape — which includes robotics, telehealth, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more — password security might seem like a mundane topic. Clinicians and other healthcare workers have used passwords for years to log in to various organizational systems, and these actions have likely become second nature. In recent years, however, cyberattacks and data breaches have heightened security concerns for healthcare organizations, emphasizing the need to develop new security strategies and revisit old protocols.

Although the concept and purpose of passwords are not new, these security controls still prove troublesome for healthcare organizations. Examples of common password problems include staff creating weak passwords, sharing passwords, writing passwords on paper, posting passwords in visible locations, and forgetting to log out of systems. Unfortunately, even minor oversights in password security can result in significant consequences. Failure to follow best practices for creating, updating, and recovering passwords might put confidential and protected information at risk, potentially increasing the risk of data breaches and HIPAA violations.

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10 Ways to Establish a Security Culture at Your Healthcare Organization

Laura M. Cascella, MA

10 Ways to Establish a Security Culture at Your Healthcare Organization

In healthcare, the term "safety culture" or "culture of safety" is familiar. It refers to organizational values, attitudes, and goals related to providing a safe environment and safe patient care. Although perhaps not as common, the term "security culture" is conceptually very similar to safety culture. An organization's security culture focuses on beliefs, values, and behaviors related to the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive data.

As healthcare technology and information-sharing continue to rapidly expand — and as cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated and savvy — the need for healthcare organizations to establish a sound and prominent security culture is of paramount importance. Failing to make security a priority, or adopting an apathetic attitude about it, can increase the risk of data breaches, fines, sanctions, and liability exposure.

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15 Ways Hospitals Can Improve Environmental Safety and Reduce Falls

Patient falls continue to represent a vexing and persistent problem for hospitals. As noted in a collaborative publication from The Joint Commission, the Health Research and Educational Trust, and the American Hospital Association, “Despite long-term and widespread attention to fall prevention, patients continue to fall, and many of these falls result in injury.”¹

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Evaluating Your Hospital’s Safety Culture as Part of Fall Prevention Initiatives

Falls are a common risk management and patient safety concern in U.S. hospitals. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that each year, between 700,000 and 1 million people in the United States fall in hospitals.¹

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Injection Safety: Key Risk Management Tips

Safe injection practices are a vital component of healthcare organizations' infection prevention and control efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) One & Only Campaign, lapses in injection safety can put patients at risk for adverse events, including transmission of hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, fungal infections, and bacterial infections.

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