WIHI: Message to Managers: Crises Happen. Plan Ahead!

Date: March 4, 2010


  • Jim Conway MS, FACHE, Senior Fellow, former Senior Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Timothy McDonald, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Safety and Risk Management, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Richard Boothman, Chief Risk Officer, University of Michigan Health System

What should happen in the first hour or first day after an adverse or sentinel event in your health care organization? Wait for all the facts to come in? Sequester yourselves until all the talking points have been agreed upon and legal counsel gives the go ahead to say something? Not too long ago, guidelines like these would not have seemed outrageous or outside the norm. Indeed, a large percentage of organizations are still tempted to react defensively and protectively when anything unexpected happens on their turf. It’s understandable but the evidence is mounting that nothing good comes from this approach – not for patients, not for staff, and definitely not for the future health and vitality of the organization.

Who better to help us understand the brave new world of “effective crisis management” than Jim Conway, Timothy McDonald, and Richard Boothman: three national improvers, well versed in risk management, who are actively reframing the priorities to be patient-centered most of all. In the process, they’re pioneering and demonstrating models of transparency and accountability any institution would be proud to emulate. WIHI host Madge Kaplan welcomes the trio to the program to tell us what they’ve been learning and to find out from you, our participants, what’s working in your own organizations. One key to effective crisis management is being prepared with a response system that everyone is familiar with and knows how to activate – before bad things occur.


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