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How to Earn Category 2 Risk Management Credits

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Safer Care Introduction

Related to: Ambulatory, Diagnosis, Primary Care, Nursing

More and more health care is delivered at an office-based setting. For patients, clinicians, and non-clinical staff, the safety culture and systems underlying office-based care varies significantly from inpatient care—and from one practice to another.

Through its Office Practice Evaluation (OPE) program and analysis of medical malpractice case data, CRICO has identified key opportunities for improving patient safety for patients receiving office-based care. In concert with clinical experts and experienced office-based providers, CRICO produces Safer Care modules designed to help practices understand and address potential risks to patient safety.

The Safer Care modules are designed to help all members of a multidisciplinary team reduce the risk of patient harm in the course of diagnosis and treatment. Office-based events that trigger malpractice cases present valuable opportunities to identify vulnerabilities in communication, clinical judgment, and patient care systems. Successful practices shared by local and national peers inform the Safer Care recommendations. CRICO works closely with your organization’s Patient Safety and Risk Management staff to build expert resources for individual and team-based education and training. Visit the  Safer Care home page for highlights of the latest publications for each topic.


Safer Care modules are being developed for specific risks organized under a broader outline of six office-based practice domains:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis
  2. Disease Management
  3. Health Screening
  4. Internal Office Function
  5. Referral Management
  6. Test Result Management

Each Safer Care module focuses on a single area of risk, but addresses issues that arise across a range of patient presentations, diagnoses, and clinical scenarios.



Using the Safer Care Modules

Download a Slideshow

CRICO has produced presentations for use by providers and practice staff interested in sharing one (or more) of the Safer Care modules with colleagues. The slideshows include additional data and complementary information as well as a facilitator’s guide. Safer Care presentations can be found in the Resources for Presenters page. 

Additional Resources

For each Safer Care module, additional related materials developed by CRICO and other leaders in patient safety are made available on our website: These include:

  1. CME bundles: samples
  2. Podcasts: samples
  3. Clinical decision support tools: samples
  4. Additional case studies: samples

Participation and Feedback

CRICO hopes the Safer Care modules will help raise awareness about the patient safety issues that most commonly put patients and providers at risk. We know that you are our best source for what does and does not work in everyday practice, and we encourage you to share your ideas, concerns, and innovations with us and your peers across the CRICO-insured community.

Email comments, resources, or questions to



Module Components 

Closed Malpractice Cases

The Safer Care case examples are drawn from actual events. Every case in the CRICO database is coded to catalogue what happened, and why. The provider-based and systems-based factors that led to the allegation of malpractice are the underpinning of CRICO’s patient safety initiatives, and drive the case selection process.

Patient Safety Vulnerabilities

For each malpractice case presented, the Safer Care module identifies two or three key vulnerabilities exposed by the event. For each, safer care recommendations are included. These vulnerabilities and recommendations are designed to guide the risk assessment process for individuals or teams reviewing each module.


Our goal is to present data and case examples that help caregivers anchor the underlying issues that pose risk to patients and providers. The data are drawn from medical malpractice cases filed against CRICO-insured providers as well as our national comparative benchmarking system (CBS) repository of more than 300,000 claims and suits.

Quick Assessment: Could it Happen Here?

Each Safer Care module features a quick assessment: 4–5 questions related to the closed malpractice case and the underlying patient safety issues. While each module’s quick assessment features topic-specific questions, all begin with “Has this type of event happened at our practice?” Providers and practice staff can complete the quick assessment either individually or, ideally, as a team.

Improvement Opportunities

Each Safer Care module offers members of a practice or care team the opportunity to assess how their systems and protocols align with recommended practices. For those instances where there is a worrisome gap between the current state and a recommended practice, this exercise provides a chance to discuss how they might close the gap.

Improvement Opportunities Matrix

Each Safer Care module includes a list of recommended practices related to the patient safety vulnerabilities identified in malpractice data and case examples. Practices are encouraged to compare their current practice to the recommended practice and, if necessary, explore possible improvements. 

  • Recommended Practice: Most often, the “recommended practice” is a general concept rather than a specific tool or methodology. This enables providers and practices to focus on the intended result rather than the approach. While the CRICO Safer Care modules offer suggestions for assessing and addressing patient safety, they should not be construed as a standard of care.
  • Current State: For the gap analysis to be productive, the current state (how we do things now) should be compared to the identified recommended practices. To be most dynamic, this should be explored from a variety of perspectives—either by soliciting input from a cross-section of clinical and non-clinical staff, or via group discussion.
  • How to Improve (if necessary): While some improvements may lend themselves to a quick fix, practices are likely to identify issues that require more time and thought. Addressing one issue at a time might be more productive than taking on too many improvements at once.

Disclaimer: The CRICO Safer Care guides offer suggestions for assessing and addressing patient safety and should not be construed as a standard of care.

CRICO’s mission is to provide a superior medical malpractice insurance program to our members, and to assist them in delivering the safest health care in the world. CRICO, a recognized leader in evidence-based risk management, is a group of companies owned by and serving the Harvard medical community.



December 11, 2014
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