Risk management is the process by which the laboratory identifies, assesses, controls, and monitors risk. Harm could result from a variety of circumstances and, depending upon the circumstances, can be insignificant to catastrophic. Therefore, in addition to identifying the risk, it is also important to establish the severity of the risk by determining the probability of harm if the risk is not controlled.
There are a variety of ways the laboratory can identify potential risks. The following methods are generally considered among the more effective methods:
- Evaluating complaints from patients and clients
- Reviewing incident reports
- Evaluating deficiencies cited by accreditation or governmental inspections (external assessments)
- Reviewing proficiency testing results
It is important to be sensitive to events or trends that may be alerts to risk potential. For example, although continually monitoring the number of phlebotomies that are performed in a day may not be a normally effective method for evaluating risk; however, if there is a sudden staff shortage of phlebotomists or a sudden increase in hospital census, it may be worth evaluating the number of phlebotomies that are done because the risk potential may increase if the phlebotomy staff is overworked.