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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Is the Current Risk Management System Working?

Table of Contents: Managing the Risks From Medical Product Use: Creating a Risk Management Framework

Previous Section : Federal Risk Management Framework

Recently, many critics have expressed the concern that the current risk management system is inadequate. The number of available medical products is rising rapidly and their complexity continues to increase dramatically. This growth in volume and complexity, fueled by the revolution in biomedicine, will continue. Physicians, pressed for time, struggle to keep up to date on the increasing flood of available products. The potential for interactions among various treatments is also growing and is beyond the ability of most busy physicians to track. In addition, cost-containment actions, such as restricting formularies 3 and decreasing the duration of patient visits, taken by managed care organizations and third-party payers challenge physicians' ability to thoughtfully prescribe the medications with which they are most familiar.

Concurrent with these changes, the U.S. healthcare delivery system is changing significantly. The current emphasis on managing healthcare includes a focus on ensuring and measuring the quality of that care. One aspect of high-quality care is the appropriate use of medical products. The importance of this aspect of healthcare, combined with a recognition of the high human and economic costs involved, has resulted in new emphasis on an old problem: preventing injury and mortality from adverse events related to the use of medical products.

Next Section : The time is right for a New Systems Framework