CRICO | Strategies for Patient Safety


Real Events, Real Opportunities
for Improvement

  by Jock Hoffman, Senior Editor for Patient Safety, CRICO    

Has this type of event ever happened in your practice?


A 34-year-old woman with a self-detected breast lump undergoes a screening mammogram. Nine months later, she returns to her gynecologist complaining of the same breast lump. A (positive) family history of breast cancer is not noted in her record. [read more]


A Radiology report noting a 3 x 1.5cm lung mass on the X-ray of 62-year-old smoker—and recommending a CT for further evaluation—is filed prior to patient’s PCP reviewing it. One year later, the patient returns with complaint of cough, chest pain, and congestion for the past month. A repeat chest X-ray is ordered. [read more]


Two weeks after her primary care office fails to send her urine specimen to the lab (but does prescribe Bactrim), the 27-year-old patient is seen in her local Emergency Department for excruciating back pain. A urine specimen is sent to the lab. [read more]


Events that trigger malpractice cases present valuable opportunities to identify vulnerabilities in communication, clinical judgment, and patient care systems. The above scenarios—based on real malpractice claims and suits—illustrate some of the biggest risks facing office-based caregivers and their patients.

And, they are part of a new tool for improving patient safety.

Through its Office Practice Evaluation program and analysis of medical malpractice data, CRICO continually identifies opportunities for improving patient safety for patients receiving office-based care. In concert with clinical experts and experienced office-based providers, CRICO has produced a series of Safer Care modules to help reduce the risk of patient harm in the course of diagnosis and treatment.

Each module focuses on a single area of risk, but addresses issues that arise across a range of patient presentations, diagnoses, and clinical scenarios. Practices can further benefit by conducting a quick patient safety assessment related to the key issues in the malpractice case example, and the applicability of experts’ recommendations.


February 2015



Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 8-14, 2015

Patient safety is your focus every day, but during #psaw2015, you can take a bow and spread the word.





CRICO, a recognized leader in evidence-based risk management, is a group of companies owned by and serving the Harvard medical community.

CRICO Strategies is a division of Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, Inc., A CRICO Company.

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