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Preventing avoidable harms

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How we’re working to prevent avoidable, serious harms

Our overall purpose as a company is to protect what matters most to people. For AXA Health, this means prioritising work on preventing avoidable harms in healthcare and encouraging sharing of learnings. If someone is harmed unnecessarily today, we want to do all we can to help stop this happening again to other people.

Every day, I have a question for my team: what are our highest priority actions which we must work on today, to have the greatest impact to improve patient safety? 

Medical insurance companies haven’t traditionally involved themselves in clinical governance. However, in a post-Paterson clinical landscape where all parties are encouraged to share data and learning, I believe we can, and must, do more for the members whose healthcare claims we pay. And the sharing learnings will help doctors and hospitals continuously improve too.

A safety culture means encouraging openness and identifying what actions to take to learn from errors. It is not about blaming individuals, but focuses on analysing the whol system, processes and human factors to identify learnings and ways to improve. Where there are blind spots, we can shine a light and support improvements.

We also support wider information sharing to prevent problems happening again. Working together to develop a shared understanding is in everyone’s interests.  

My team are each working on focus areas to foster greater information sharing and to turn serious incidents into learnings which prevent them happening again. Each member has a responsibility to take action and plays a key role in clinical governance and risk in our healthcare system.

We’re also looking at other ways we can create safe spaces for sharing safety lessons in healthcare. For example, we’re working with CORESS, a charity which promotes safety in surgical practice by encouraging action on pre-cursor events. 

Dr Annabel Bentley, Chief Medical Officer, AXA Health

Dr Anabel Bentley

Dr Annabel Bentley, Chief Medical Officer, AXA Health 

Annabel read medicine at King’s College, University of London and studied evidence-based healthcare with a special interest in medical tests at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford. Following surgical practice in the NHS she moved into the private healthcare sector, leading clinical risk and governance for a diagnostics service and for private medical insurance companies, including Executive Medical Director and Responsible Officer roles.