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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James J. Foody, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a 111-page softcover monograph on the issue of risk management authored by a general practitioner physician in Great Britain.
Purpose: The author states that there are avoidable risks in the office practice setting which can be assessed and managed, thus reducing the chance of litigation.
Audience: Since the author is a physician, the implication is that physicians will find this a useful resource. In fact, office managers may be the true audience for this book. The author's credibility is based on him being a practitioner.
Features: There are no illustrations, although there are several examples of forms and checklists. The table of contents is straightforward and useful. The index needs improvement. For example, if the reader wishes to have information about needle stick hazards, one finds no index for "needles." One would need to realize that "phlebotomy" is the heading for a mention about needles. References are in a separate appendix and refer to British government documents, apparently the equivalent of OSHA regulations.
Assessment: This is a little handbook describing ways of managing avoidable risks in the office-based practice setting. Examples of such risks are inadvertent needle sticks, handling hazardous chemicals, threats to or by patients, fire hazards, and the like. As such, it may prove helpful to a practice manager, but it is unlikely that many physicians would find it directly useful. A sobering observation on the conditions our British colleagues face is the presence of a section on how to deal with suspected bombs and with terrorist threats. There are many risks faced in the practice of medicine in addition to the specter of malpractice litigation.