For health care systems in recent years, patient safety has increasingly become a priority issue. National and international strategies have been considered to attempt to overcome the most prominent hazards while patients are receiving health care. Thereby, clinical risk management (CRM) plays a dominant role in enabling the identification, analysis, and management of potential risks. CRM implementation into routine procedures within complex hospital organizations is challenging, as in the past, organizational change strategies using a top-down approach have often failed. Therefore, one of our main objectives was to educate a certain number of risk managers in facilitating CRM using a bottom-up approach.
To achieve our primary purpose, five project strands were developed, and consequently followed, introducing CRM: corporate governance, risk management (RM) training, CRM process, information, and involvement. The core part of the CRM process involved the education of risk managers within each organizational unit. To account for the size of the existing organization, we assumed that a minimum of 1 % of the workforce had to be trained in RM to disseminate the continuous improvement of quality and safety. Following a roll-out plan, CRM was introduced in each unit and potential risks were identified.
Alongside the changes in the corporate governance, a hospital-wide CRM process was introduced resulting in 158 trained risk managers correlating to 2.0 % of the total workforce. Currently, risk managers are present in every unit and have identified 360 operational risks. Among those, 176 risks were scored as strategic and clustered together into top risks. Effective meeting structures and opportunities to share information and knowledge were introduced. Thus far, 31 units have been externally audited in CRM.
The CRM approach is unique with respect to its dimension; members of all health care professions were trained to be able to identify potential risks. A network of risk managers supported the centrally coordinated CRM process. There is a strong commitment among management, academia, clinicians, and administration to foster cooperation. The introduction of CRM led to a visible shift with regard to patient safety culture throughout the entire organization. Still, there is a long way to go to keep people engaged in CRM and work on national and international patient safety initiatives to continuously decrease potential hazards.