This week, CRICO celebrates 40 years of providing exemplary medical professional liability insurance coverage and claims management to clinicians and institutions affiliated with Harvard Medical School. On this occasion, we also acknowledge CRICO’s significant influence on patient safety, particularly, pioneering efforts to understand the risks associated with patient harm and developing an evidence-based methodology to formulate solutions for improvement.

Examine the systems. Most patients encounter a series of systems (workflows, protocols, handoffs, documentation, etc.) in the course of being diagnosed and treated. Events that trigger an allegation of malpractice often involve a breakdown in one or more system. Knowing why those systems fail—and how to fix them—is central to maintaining safe care environments.

Use data to understand risks. Collecting and analyzing information about what goes wrong in complex systems, and why, ensures that finite resources are appropriately applied to the key stress points. Through CRICO Strategies’ partnership with health care systems from around the country, CRICO offers researchers and analysts an extensively coded database reflecting 30 percent of U.S. malpractice cases. CRICO and its collaborators are well-equipped to pinpoint risk trends that may elude a single organization with a relatively small case count.

Tell stories. Behavioral change within a clinical practice relies on individuals who can envision what they want to see happen, or not happen. The illustrative stories CRICO develops from real malpractice cases are uniquely powerful motivators—often the most compelling factor—in transforming patient safety initiatives from concept to practice.

Don’t compete on safety. CRICO frequently convenes health care “competitors” to jointly address the patient safety issues they all face individually. By sharing concerns, data, and remedies, (including through the AMC PSO), CRICO’s member organizations and CRICO Strategies clients serve together as a nationally recognized and respected leader in risk identification and mitigation.

Be proactive. The CRICO Board has chosen to fund research and innovation projects aimed at known and emerging risks identified via malpractice data and clinical expert convenings. In 2012, CRICO helped establish (and fund) the nation’s first patient safety fellowship program to prepare tomorrow’s patient safety leaders.

Spread the words, and numbers. Sharing malpractice data, case studies, and effective practices is a hallmark of CRICO’s leadership in patient safety. From the board room to the waiting room, CRICO assembles and presents information—through its publications, website, and live events—that enables clinicians to focus on providing their patients the safest care possible.

An anniversary is a milepost, not an endpoint. Across Harvard and throughout the country, CRICO’s positive impact on health care providers and their patients continues to grow, and will continue to be worth celebrating.

Additional Material


Mind the Gaps

Avoiding the risks of communication failures in patient care

A CRICO Strategies Patient Safety Symposium

Learn what you can do to avoid communication missteps that can lead to patient harm and allegations of medical malpractice.

View Presentations

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