Risk management procedures which have been successfully applied in the defence sector are being brought to the NHS through new software being piloted at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The new software application, known as PRISM, aims to allow trusts to develop proactive risk management procedures in clinical, organisational and financial areas.

This meets the requirements of both controls assurance and the clinical governance agenda.

The software is not designed to attribute blame when a mistake occurs. It identifies the cause of errors and pinpoints where they are most likely to occur, suggesting how they can be prevented from recurring.

One of its advantages is that it allows sharing of best practice and networking across the NHS.

The one-stop package includes training, data conversion, consultancy service and production of reports, and is divided into five different tool sets. They are:

Risk management, which captures vital information about organisational objectives and processes, improving communication and enabling rapid dissemination of important information; Incident management, which integrates incident, complaint and claims information and triggers compliance with performance criteria; Performance management to support benchmarking, local audit and identification of best practice; Process design to assist understanding of risk exposure and support in risk reduction as well as development of integrated care pathways; A management tool, which integrates the whole system, allowing visualisation and analysis of all risk and performance information, business and clinical objectives.

BMT PRISM, which manufactures the software, has been formed as a subsidiary of British Maritime Technology. The company has been supplying risk management services to the defence and aerospace industries for 10 years.

The new software exceeds the requirements of NHS adopted Risk Management Standard AS/NZS 4360:1999.

Meanwhile, CamAxys Ltd has enhanced its CamHealth Accident/Incident Management system to allow recording and management of an unrestricted range of adverse events.

The system capitalises on the principle that incidents are much less likely to recur if lessons learned from previous accidents or incidents have been properly applied. Many events can be traced back to a relatively minor failure, triggering a chain reaction.

Internet capability allows anyone using the system to report to it from anywhere in the organisation, and relevant individuals can be immediately informed by e-mail.

Subsequent action can also be e-mailed and retrieved using the Internet or intranet.

Summaries of events and action can be presented in a range of formats.