Categories of Healthcare Risk

There is a million ways a business, especially one that involves the interaction of many people and services, can encounter risk be it to itself or to those whom it is seeking to serve.

But most of those sources of risk can be sifted into categories that can then be worked through and given actions to mediate or manage a risk.

The four main categories of healthcare risk are:

  1. Patient Safety
  2. Financial
  3. Legal Compliance
  4. Reputation/Image

Each company, hospital, or clinic may rank each category differently depending on their focus of service or there field of influence. All risk is not from Compliance. Some procedures are by nature riskier than others. For some, the risk of sullied or ruined reputation may have more devastating effects than loss of money or a fine. However the risks may be stacked the initial steps are the same to manage those risks.

First the risk must be assessed. The problem needs to be addressed and understood.  Then program for managing that risk must be developed. That Management program includes the training, implementation, and ongoing monitoring of progress.  A proactive stance to risk is the best option for the management of risk. If a problem is ignored, or if the resolve is delayed to be applied then the risk can grow and even cascade into further risks.  However, in a proactive approach risks may be broken down into there competent parts, and dealt with as necessary. And a truly proactive approach will avoid many situations that could hurt an organization through the 4 categories of risk above.



The act of managing risk creates a path for greater potential.


I earned my Doctorate of Chiropractic several weeks before my 28th birthday.  I had already bought a small clinic in the Old Town center area of the town I was living in Texas, just 20 minutes from the Chiropractic College I attended.  I actually had to wait a week or two for my State license to actually begin seeing patients.  The week I purchased the clinic, mostly using a loan, the Lehman Brothers Bank went under and we found out that we were pregnant with our third child.  So with zero experience, zero savings or working capital, and a child on the way I began a new business.

I had had interviews with other banks for more working capital or lines of credit, however as the financial meltdown began they each stated that their banks were putting my type of loans on hold for several months, and which all eventually were cancelled.

The first year was extremely stressful and more difficult than I had anticipated.  I definitely gained experience as a chiropractor and was able to help people, but there were many aspects of  maintaining that clinic that I was not prepared for.  After 13 months I was able to sell the clinic and secure a job that would actually earn a paycheck as a chiropractor.

From that experience I learned that with potential comes risk. Owning a chiropractic office had great potential, at least that’s what I had been hearing for several years in the chiropractic program, but I had not sufficiently focused on and prepared for the risk that came along with it.  Or maybe I had just been looking at the steps wrong. That with risk there is always potential and opportunity, but also risk and harm.  The act of managing that risk creates a path for greater potential.