Performance improvement through proactive risk assessment: Using failure modes and effects analysis

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Journal name:
J Educ Health Promot


Cognizance of any error-prone professional activities has a great impact on the continuity of professional organizations in the competitive atmosphere, particularly in the healthcare industry where every second has critical value in patients’ life-saving. Considering invaluable functions of medical record department — as legal document and continuity of health care — “failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)” utilized to identify the ways a process can fail, and how it can be made safer.

Materials and Methods

The structured approach involved assembling a team of experts, employing a trained facilitator, introducing the rating scales and process during team orientation and collectively scoring failure modes. The probability of the failure-effect combination was related to the frequency of occurrence, potential severity, and the likelihood of detection before causing any harm to the staff or patients. Frequency, severity, and detectability were each given a score from 1 to 10. Risk priority numbers were calculated.


In total 56 failure modes were identified and in subsets of Medical Record Department including admission unit dividing emergency, outpatient and inpatient classes, statistic, health data organizing and data processing and Medical Coding units. Although most failure modes were classified as a high-risk group, limited resources were, as an impediment to implementing recommended actions at the same time.


Proactive risk assessment methods, such as FMEA enable healthcare administrators to identify where and what safeguards are needed to protect against a bad outcome even when an error does occur.


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