They can help cut costs, reduce litigation and, most important, save lives.
Although risk-management practices may not sound as exciting as the latest clinical advances or as cutting-edge as the newest diagnostic imaging device or information systems installation, they can affect operations throughout healthcare organizations. Entrants in the 11th annual Excellence in Risk Management Awards competition focused their energies on the issues dominating healthcare today: quality of care and process improvement, reduction of medical errors, financial turnarounds and increased patient access.
This year's 11 submissions included nine in the institutional category and two in the medical group class. Saint Agnes Medical Center, a 326-bed acute-care hospital in Fresno, Calif., owned by Novi, Mich.-based Trinity Health, earned the top prize in the hospitals category for its entry, "Successful Interventions for Ischemic Stroke Patient Care." Saint Agnes edged out an entry from 167-bed OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill. OSF St. Joseph also explored better ways of managing stroke patients.
The entries were judged by a prominent group of healthcare leaders, physicians and attorneys schooled in risk management. The criteria for judging the submissions included level of project integration across organizational lines, best use of existing resources, and the financial and nonfinancial impact of the programs on their organizations.
Judges did not award a winner in the medical group category, instead opting to confer honorable-mention status to the two entries. Oakland-based California Emergency Physicians Medical Group had the edge, but judges say the group failed to include the project's financial impact on the organization. The other honorable mention went to Painesville, Ohio-based Prime Health Medical Group.
The annual awards are co-sponsored by the St. Paul Cos., a leading malpractice insurer, and Modern Healthcare.