Course: Risk Management Consult: Avoiding Medical System Failures Plus
Author: Rosemary Gafner and James Schutte
AMA PRA Category 1 credits: 6
Estimated Hours to Complete Course: 5.50
Estimated Minutes to Complete Test: 30
Course Release Date: 1/1/2021
Course Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
How to avoid system failures that can lead to medical errors.

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Risk Management Consult
Avoiding Medical System Failures Plus


Medical errors are inevitable. Every healthcare professional makes them, yourself included. While it’s possible to reduce the incidence of medical errors through training and diligence, they can never be eliminated entirely. That’s why we talk of “risk management” instead of “risk elimination.” Fortunately, most errors can be caught and corrected before they result in patient injury. But doing so requires that you not only remain on guard to the possibility that an error or oversight has occurred, but also recognize your duty to find and address it. Otherwise, mistakes tend to compound on themselves, resulting in diagnostic and treatment failures and patient injury.


Upon completion of this course, a physician should be able to:

1.  Explain what a system failure is, and how it differs from a simple error.
2.  Explain why human errors can be managed but never eliminated entirely .
3.  Describe the importance of teamwork, protocols, and checklists in preventing system failures.
4.  Explain how root cause analysis works, and how it can be used to resolve sources of recurrent errors.
5.  Explain how the SBAR communication model works, and how it can help prevent systems failures.
6.  Identify seven issues that are common sources of medical errors, and explain ways to prevent such errors and improve patient safety.

7.  Recognize five commonly missed diagnoses and ways to avoid missing them.

Target Audience
This course is designed for physicians of all specialties who want to avoid medical errors.


This is a self-study course consisting of text and CME test.  Physicians should read the course content, answer the test questions and submit the answers for scoring.  Those who complete the course with a score of 80 percent or higher will earn a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.


This course was developed by Rosemary Gafner, Ed.D. and James E. Schutte, Ph.D.  Their CVs are available at

CME Information

Medical Risk Management, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians.  Medical Risk Management, Inc.designates this enduring material for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Estimated time to complete this course:  6 hours.

Commercial Support

This activity was developed by Medical Risk Management, Inc. without commercial support.


Neither Dr. Gafner nor Dr. Schutte have anything to disclose.

Please check with your insurance carrier for approved courses before registering.  Courses not approved by your insurance carrier will not be accepted by them for any discounts they may offer.