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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Risk Management in the Clinical Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Definitions of Risk and Risk Management

A risk is a present condition or activity that could result in harm. In healthcare, a risk is a practice or approach that, unmitigated or unchanged, will more than likely result in harm to a patient or an error that could negatively affect patient outcomes.
Risk management involves the creation of policies and procedures and the implementation of practices that are aimed at the prevention of events that could result in negative patient outcomes. Basically, risk management is the process of making and carrying out decisions that will assist in the prevention of detrimental events. It also describes techniques used in the prevention of adverse consequences or losses if an unintended or unexpected event does occur. It is important to demonstrate how to analyze risks and clarify what options a laboratory has in deciding how to deal with risks.
Often, a critical incident that affects patient care is the result of multiple errors and system flaws that coincide.