Overall patient satisfaction with their healthcare delivery experience is a significant measure of the perceived quality of care of a health care practice. One common facility related factor that correlates well with improved perceptions of care is the general openness and accessibility of the facility. However, health care providers also have a primary responsibility to ensure that the care that they provide to the public is done in a safe manner and setting. Delivering the highest quality of medical care in the safest and most comfortable environment should be the foundation of any healthcare practice mission statement.

Risk assessment is one of the first steps a healthcare system can take to improve the security and safety of their facilities, patients, visitors, and staff.  Risk assessment answers two questions:

1. What is the probability an event will occur?
2. What is the magnitude of the loss should it occur?

Risk assessments are used for many industries and are critical in the healthcare industry.  Events that present a threat in most healthcare facilities could include:

1. Human threats like combative patients or other workplace violence
2. Natural threats like earthquakes or flooding
3. Environmental threats like chemical leakage or pollution

Risk Assessment Process

The risk assessment process may be completed within several weeks or months depending on the specific facility and industry. The figure below visually represents the 5 step Risk Assessment Process:

1. Identify Threats – Involves a thorough investigation of the healthcare facilities and security procedures.

2. Assess Vulnerabilities – Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in a healthcare system’s protection plan that have the potential to harm assets.

3. Establish Security Measures and Controls– The current security measures are evaluated for effectiveness.

4. Prepare Corrective Action Plan – Any adjustments will be included and implemented.

5. Monitor & Review – Since risk assessment and management is an ongoing process, security  should be continuously monitored and reviewed to measure effectiveness.