Medical or clinical risk is high throughout the entire healthcare process, from diagnosis to treatment to rehabilitation. Because of the complexity and seriousness of the consequences of healthcare risk, it is critical that not only hospitals but also government departments implement sound risk management mechanisms for early warning and macro administration. Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, analysing and managing all potential risks. Healthcare risk management is an effort to reduce and assess risks to patients, staff, and organizational assets within a health care institution. Currently, there is no comprehensive incidence reporting and analysis database in China, so it is difficult to assess healthcare risks quickly and accurately, or to make predictions about medical risks. Therefore, in line with the ongoing reform of its healthcare system, China can draw on the successful experiences of developed countries and regions to establish its own healthcare risk management and early warning and monitoring system.
Although the results of the first large-scale study of adverse events were published over 30 years ago (1), the field of patient safety has only gained widespread attention in the last decade (2–4). In this time, there has been a rapid increase in the number of publications and reports in this area, but interpretation and comparisons have been compromised by a lack of common understanding and language. This series of articles aims to comprehensively compare the concepts, policies, and regulations of institutional management (Article One), administration of incidence reporting systems (Article Two), tools of risk assessment (Article Three), and performance evaluation (Article Four)of medical risk management and early warning and monitoring systems by examining patient safety laws, regulatory documents, research reports, reviews, and other documents in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Taiwan, and to provide evidence and policy recommendations for national risk management. In this piece, Article One of the series, we report the laws, regulations, institutional structures, and management mechanisms of medical risk in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Taiwan.