The positive side of risk management

Posted by Dr Catherine Rutland on 03/08/2018

I have recently returned from presenting at our first cycle conference. One of the days I presented for almost two hours in a very hot room on the subject of risk management. Poor delegates I hear you cry, worn out from cycling all day in the Mallorcan sun and having to sit in a warm room and listen to me. 

I had decided to go back to my risk management qualification and look at the basics of why and how we carry out risk management. As well as aligning it to dentistry, cycling also came into the mix. There are three fundamental types of risk, hazard risk (a child jumping out at you whilst on your bike), control risk (that niggly injury that you can either pay attention to and sort out or ignore at your peril) and opportunity risk (I attempt that huge hill and I may fail or I may get the most amazing satisfaction and view at the top). As risk management is so commonly viewed as a negative, it was good to bring it back to something relatable and positive. 

Ultimately we perform risk management in almost all aspects of our lives, we just don’t think of it that way as it helps us function safely and as well as we can.

Somehow in dentistry we lose that positivity, feel it is all ‘forced’ on us and don’t even consider the positive side of it. Yet having studied risk management in a general sense, most industries view it as a necessary part of success, not an option or a ‘forced’ exercise.

It improves compliance, performance, business success, customer satisfaction to name a few, all of which, it goes without saying, we want to achieve.

At dinner that evening several people brought up the subject of opportunity risk. They had never considered those two words together and it really made them think. To me, that is all I wanted to achieve whilst presenting, give them something to think about it.

Needless to say, I didn’t cycle, I swam…and believe me getting in the sea to do a long swim on my own meant there was risk management involved…yet, it also showed you can never predict all risks, I certainly didn’t expect a sea plane practising collecting water for fires….

About the Author:

Catherine Rutland

Catherine Rutland works as Head of Professional Services at Simplyhealth Professionals, and writes a regular column for The Dentist