The Art of Risk Management

December 1, 2012 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


Though healthcare risk management has its roots in numbers—things like managing claims or buying insurance—it’s not a profession that can be understood by glancing at a series of numbers on a spreadsheet. As healthcare has evolved, risk management has come to influence the cultures of entire organizations, and in turn, the organizations’ cultures allow risk professionals to flourish. Navigating within the environment of a healthcare organization and directing it for the betterment of patients, staff members, and the organization itself is truly an art—one that requires risk managers’ dedication and determination to master.

“The risk manager is the one people think about when there’s a problem or when they see something they perceive to be a problem,” says Marcie Williams, RN, M.S., CPHRM, FASHRM, CLNC, vice president of safety and risk management, Texas Health Resources (Arlington, Texas). Therefore, the risk manager has to know how to manage any situation that develops.

“We’re the renaissance people,” says Jacque Mitchell, B.S.N., CPHRM, FASHRM, risk manager at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (Norfolk, Virginia). “We know a little about everything.”

Risk management has ranged far past its original role as claims management. “Much of my early experience was reactive. I had a real claims perspective,” says Linda Wallace, B.S.N., M.S.N., CPHRM, director of aging services and risk management, ECRI Institute. “I was offended when people sued us....

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