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Risk managers are often the go-to resource in their organizations for answers to far-ranging questions, such as the following:

  • What do I do with this recall notice that I just received from a manufacturer?
  • What’s the best way to present data about patient complaints to our board?
  • Do you know of any cybersecurity assessment tool I can use to evaluate our information technology system?
  • We plan to open a new behavioral care unit; how can we be sure the environment is safe for our staff and patients?


These are just a small sample of questions posed to Pat Tennent, director of risk management at Multicare Health System (Tacoma, Washington), by staff from the system’s multiple hospitals and ambulatory settings. Like most risk managers, however, she isn’t always available to provide an immediate response. That’s why she is educating staff at the system about using ECRI Institute’s patient safety, risk, and quality resources, such as Healthcare Risk Control (HRC), to find answers to their questions. "I have a lot of people [from Multicare] on ECRI’s [online membership] system. My goal is to make them fishermen," says Tennent.

ECRI Institute allows subscribers to obtain online access for any staff member at the organization. Multicare’s HRC users include staff who typically request access because of their responsibilities for patient safety, quality and risk management, and compliance. But other HRC users at Multicare include representatives from human resources, laboratory services, diagnostic imaging, security, nursing, and physician leadership.

"ECRI can be an immediate resource to them if I’m not available," says Tennent. To promote the resource, she’ll often ask, "Do you know what ECRI says?" when she can’t readily answer a staff member’s question.


Shared knowledge is a valuable asset for any organization. Instead of starting from scratch each time a question arises, Tennent believes in the power of the "collective brain." "We can turn to ECRI rather than reinventing the wheel," says Tennent. "Among all of us, we have a collective brain."


Learn more about Healthcare Risk Control membership.