Potentially adverse situations can increase risks and decrease patient confidence. Early intervention and effective event management allow you to gain greater control of your risk and reduce the potential for a lawsuit.
The seed of a professional liability claim is planted within the first 24 hours after an adverse event. What you communicate to the patient/resident or family within those first critical hours is often something they never forget. The conversations between patients, families and care providers set the stage for either an amicable resolution or full-scale litigation.
Claims research has demonstrated that early intervention and effective event management can result in a decrease in the frequency and severity of claims. Appropriate management of an event and disclosure to a patient/resident or to the patient’s family can be done in a way that can better affect the outcome for all parties involved, while reducing the potential for a lawsuit. Event management enables you to create an ongoing, comprehensive and continuous improvement of your risk profile. Stevens & Lee can provide your organization with immediate, confidential risk assistance and sound risk management advice to help you manage events when they occur and as they continue to unfold.
Successful event management minimized the potential for lawsuits and, most importantly, enables you to learn from the events to prevent such incidences from recurring. In addition, we offer event management and education tools that include the creation of a system-wide approach to adverse events through education and training.
Get Advice When an Event Occurs
If an event occurs and you are uncertain of the best course of action, Stevens & Lee can help. Our risk management specialists are available to assist you in determining the best actions to take to manage the situation from its inception. We will continue to offer support and guidance until the event is resolved. In addition, we will help you identify the circumstances that require expert legal advice and help transition the information to legal counsel when warranted.
How Will You Benefit?
You will be able to:
Review the event with an experienced risk management specialist and obtain guidance on addressing the situation
Reduce inherent risks when potentially adverse situations arise, thereby continuously improving your risk profile
Address events in the critical 24 hours when the seed of a professional liability claim is typically planted
Determine the best course of action for effective claims management
Reduce the severity of a claim by ethically creating evidence of positive communication with the patient/resident or patient’s family for use if litigation ensues – information that works for you, not against you
Create an aggressive litigation defense should the claim turn into full-scale litigation
Event Management, Education and Training
Collaborative event management starts before an adverse event occurs. It begins with having a proactive process in place where all staff members understand the importance of a cohesive, collaborative team approach to both communications and patient and family concerns. Stevens & Lee’s Collaborative Event Management Workshop is a defined process that teaches health care professionals how to manage unanticipated or disappointing outcomes, errors and incidents.
Event management education focuses on learned communication skills designed to deliver information to patients and families in a timely fashion that put the patient and the family at ease, restore trust and reduce the risk of litigation. You will learn how to intercede and provide patients with the information they need, in the right way and at the right time to help prevent claims. It means listening to patients and their families to first determine their concerns, then work to address them appropriately.
By incorporating a mandatory event management program into your organization, you can work to minimize claims and lawsuits and also help to prevent them in the first place. An event management program reduces risk not only as an event occurs, but also in the long term by providing continuous quality improvement.
Incorporating Event Management into Your Organization
To be successful, the event management concept requires support from senior management. Leadership involvement and training are crucial and begin with a collaborative meeting of all staff members across the continuum of care. The objective of the meeting is to understand the compelling research behind the concept of event management and to demystify previously held assumptions about disclosure and litigation. In addition, barriers to successful implementation and essential resources to initiate and sustain the process need to be identified and addressed. Lastly, a strategy of visible, credible support needs to be developed and embraced so that all in the organization will take the concept seriously.
Individuals are selected as “communication facilitators” and trained through an intensive hands-on workshop using real situations to develop the mentoring and team building skills they will need to succeed as facilitators. In addition to daily responsibilities, the communication facilitators are responsible for implementing the organization’s established process for timely, effective, truthful communications and interactions with patients and families following an unanticipated outcome or error.
The Collaborative Event Management Workshop also provides clinicians and staff with skills for maintaining short term communication and extended follow-up with patients and families. This is an important issue as many times patients and families face newly emerging concerns in the days or weeks following an event. If a patient’s concerns are not addressed, they can serve as an impetus to seek an attorney. The workshop also provides sound risk management advice on documenting events in medical records and for any required reporting to licensing, regulatory and accrediting bodies.
Effective event management requires an organization to develop policies and procedures for investigating adverse events and near misses. The investigative process must be structured in a way to uncover the source of the event and the facts surrounding its occurrence. Meanwhile, patients and families must be kept informed about the investigation into the incident, since lack of information is the leading reason why patients and their families seek an attorney.
Reduce Risk, Enhance Success
Finding ways to minimize the negative consequences of adverse events is a step toward becoming a successful organization and a provider and employer of choice. Stevens & Lee can help reduce your risk and enhance your success through our event management services.
For more information, please e-mail James W. Saxton or call him at
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