Background: Risk assessment is widely used to improve patient safety, but healthcare workers are not trained to design robust solutions to the risks they uncover. This leads to an overreliance on the weakest category of risk control recommendations: administrative controls. Increasing the proportion of non-administrative risk control options (NARCOs) generated would enable (though not ensure) the adoption of more robust solutions.
Objectives: Experimentally assess a method for generating stronger risk controls: The Generating Options for Active Risk Control (GO-ARC) Technique.
Methods: Participants generated risk control options in response to two patient safety scenarios. Scenario 1 (baseline): All participants used current practice (unstructured brainstorming). Scenario 2: Control group used current practice; intervention group used the GO-ARC Technique. To control for individual differences between participants, analysis focused on the change in the proportion of NARCOs for each group.
Control group: Proportion of NARCOs decreased from 0.18 at baseline to 0.12. Intervention group: Proportion increased from 0.10 at baseline to 0.29 using the GO-ARC Technique. Results were statistically significant. There was no decrease in the number of administrative controls generated by the intervention group.
Conclusion: The Generating Options for Active Risk Control (GO-ARC) Technique appears to lead to more robust risk control options.
Keywords: Healthcare risk management; occupational health; patient safety; risk control.