Risk Management Tools & Resources


Telephone Triage in Healthcare Practices

The telephone is one of the most important communication tools in healthcare practices. Telephone calls must be prioritized and routed appropriately so patients receive the proper medical attention. Healthcare practices should have written policies and protocols that specifically address handling telephone calls, triaging patients, scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions, and addressing patient questions and problems. These procedures should specify documentation required for telephone-based encounters.1

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Patient Satisfaction Surveys as a Quality Improvement Tool for Healthcare Practices

Providing high-quality, optimal care has been a long-standing goal for healthcare leaders, practitioners, and nonclinical staff. Although this focus is not new, the increased emphasis on patient-centered care and the shift to value-based payment models in recent years have cast new light on the importance of patient satisfaction.

Measuring patients' perceptions of the quality of care and services they receive can offer healthcare practices valuable information and data on which to build quality improvement (QI) initiatives. One common mechanism for assessing patient perceptions is through the use of surveys. Patient satisfaction surveys can collect critical patient feedback and also offer opportunities to improve communication among healthcare providers, staff, and patients.

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Contract Administration in Healthcare Practices: Managing the Moving Parts

Contract administration and management in healthcare practices can be daunting tasks. Healthcare providers often are involved in numerous contractual agreements, including arrangements with managed care organizations, office and equipment supply vendors, technology systems vendors, landlords, collection agencies, answering services, insurance carriers, partners, employees, and employee benefits providers. Contracts also might be in place for other services, such as serving as a training site for students or fulfilling a medical director role for a long-term care facility.

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Balancing Social Media and Patient Privacy in Healthcare

Maintaining privacy of patients' protected health information (PHI) is one of the most significant concerns related to social media use in healthcare. Privacy and security of PHI are addressed in federal law and governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). States also may have laws related to the privacy and security of PHI, which might be more stringent than federal laws.

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Corporate Compliance: Covering the Bases

Corporate compliance is a concept that broadly applies to a range of corporate entities and refers to the processes these organizations follow to adhere to regulations and ethical standards. In healthcare, corporate compliance refers to an organization's commitment to, and procedures for, detecting and preventing violations of state and federal laws, establishing expectations for ethical business practices, and setting appropriate standards for patient care and services. In short, corporate compliance is a commitment to do the right thing, both legally and ethically.

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CASE STUDY: Lapses in Elopement Policies Have Grave Consequences for Behavioral Health Patient

The patient was a 20-year-old male with behavioral health issues who had multiple prior admissions to a hospital psychiatric unit over a 6-year span. On October 10, he was admitted to the psychiatric unit again through the emergency department (ED) for emergency detention. Upon arrival, the patient was having a psychotic episode (hallucinations and paranoia), but after 14 hours of sleep, he appeared calm and engaged. A nurse screened the patient for suicidal ideation and classified him as low risk. Because he had tried to leave the ED the previous day, the patient was placed on elopement precaution.

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Improving the Care and Management of Behavioral Health Patients in the Emergency Department

Behavioral health issues have escalated in recent years and pose serious public health and patient safety concerns. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States has a behavioral health condition; more than 1 in 10 adolescents report having a major depressive disorder in the last year; and only half of people who have mental illnesses receive treatment.1

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Taking Decisive Action to Address Sexual Harassment in Healthcare

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new problem — yet, in the past couple of years, it has received renewed attention as a result of the #MeToo movement and countless numbers of women and men coming forward with accounts of being victimized. These reports indicate that harassment is an ongoing and serious issue across all types of industries and organizations, and healthcare certainly isn't immune.

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