Hospital Risk Management and Patient Safety

Governance in hospital risk management entails the commitment of the healthcare providers in carrying out their professional responsibilities in caring for the patient who is exposed to risk and guarantee their safety. According to Carayon (2010), hospital systems are prone to emergencies in operating rooms and intensive care units. Emergency departments provide effective and accurate treatment with a set of unique risks that change with the discovery and development of new treatment methods. Those in management positions should identify changes that happen in the healthcare environment and develop the right change management plans to promote patient safety. Safety systems are designed to prevent errors and protect the patient from the potential effects of risks. According to Gaba and Howard (2002), a reliable system should have a flexible hierarchy that incorporates an effective communication mechanism to engage members in continuous learning, ensure trust, transparency, and accountability. The right standards and guidelines should be used to address the problems that increase fatigue among healthcare providers who are always accountable for patient safety.

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Youngberg (2010) asserts that governance is meant to ensure corporate liability. Management should outline rules and procedures for making the patient’s hospital environment safe. Safety is achieved by exploring avenues that cause the hospital system to fail and putting in place protective defenses against potential risks. According to Youngberg (2010), governance is about fixing problems, addressing risks at earlier stages, and enabling the management of the healthcare systems to develop protective measures to make the patient’s environment safe.

The next role proposed by Mellin-Olsen, Staender, Whitaker, and Smith (2010) is the duty of care, which entails developing a system for teaching healthcare workers on how to address accidents when they happen. Those in management should identify weaknesses in the healthcare system that lead to failures and the strategies to protect the system (Youngberg, 2010). To manage the risks, the system should be designed in such a way that it guides healthcare providers to understand the sources and effects of local hazards, develop clear guidelines on how to safely manage the system, provide early warning of imminent danger to users and system owners, and quickly restore the system to its normal working order if it fails.

According to Youngberg (2010), ‘quality of fraud’ is a clinical governance role for fixing system related problems when they happen to ensure that risk management and patient safety are implemented in a professional manner. Risk management plans are designed to incorporate post-event investigations, techniques of addressing the causes and effects of risks, methods of complying with legal requirements, and proactive and reactive responses to unexpected outcomes on patient safety. On the other hand, patient safety is guaranteed by addressing the elements that cause the failures to happen within the hospital system and correcting them. The methods of recovering from errors when they happen are based on the patterns and themes within the system and the human factors that cause failures.

Other roles include providing leadership on patient safety and service quality. The hospital board can achieve its obligations by complying with the law. In addition, the hospital leadership should show fiduciary responsibility by staying honest, trustworthy, objectives and stewards of public trust and establish the hospital’s mission and vision statements. The hospital board should educate the members on quality and safety concerns of the patient.


Carayon, P. (2010). Human factors in patient safety as an innovation. Applied ergonomics, 41(5), 657-665.

Gaba, D. M., & Howard, S. K. (2002). Fatigue among clinicians and the safety of patients. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(16), 1249-1255.

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Mellin-Olsen, J., Staender, S., Whitaker, D. K., & Smith, A. F. (2010). The Helsinki declaration on patient safety in anaesthesiology. European Journal of Anaesthesiology (EJA), 27(7), 592-597.

Youngberg, B. J. (2010). Principles of Risk Management and Patient Safety. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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