PeaceHealth doctor presents risk-assessment tool at conference

Dr. Jeremy Blanchard, PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s vice president of quality and medical staff services, introduced a new tool for assessing risk in making tough health care decisions during the 2013 annual meeting of the American College of Physician Executives in New York City.

In his workshop, titled “Risk Discernment: A New Tool to Assist in Making the Tough Decision”, Blanchard introduced a  flow chart diagram to provide attendees a take-away tool that they can put into use immediately to guide decision making. It identifies who needs to be involved, key questions to ask, and how and by whom decisions will be made, communicated and implemented.

“In the healthcare administrative world we make three kinds of decisions,” Blanchard said, in a press release. “Ethical and return-on-investment are the most common, but we also need to consider risk.  That is a huge factor in quality management.”

Blanchard said risk to the patient, risk to the physician and risk to the institution are all factors that need to be considered in making decisions about new procedures or equipment to employ.

In his presentation at the conference, Dr. Blanchard used the example of an automated CPR device that PeaceHealth St. Joseph was considering for use in the emergency department.  The LUCAS Mechanical CPR device has three advantages over humans doing CPR: it maintains 100 chest compressions per minute, always compresses to the right depth and doesn’t fatigue like humans do.

But since there were concerns that it might do more harm than good if not used properly, the risk discernment tool was used to aid in decision making.

The concern was identified, the decision makers were named, appropriate experts with opposing views were invited to provide insights and opinions, the decision panel voted in executive session, and then their decision was communicated, along with an action plan for implementation.

Blanchard was selected through a competitive process to present in the “Difference Maker” workshop series at the ACPE annual conference, which is intended to provide educational and growth opportunities for physician executives.

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