Students learn to assess environmental health risks (e.g.
drinking water contamination, eco-system risk assessment), security risks (e.g. risk of
unauthorized disclosures, risk of terrorist attacks), risk of adverse sentinel
events (e.g. wrong side surgery, risk of fire in surgical rooms, medication
errors). Students build and interpret causal models of risks and test the
accuracy of these models against extant incidence reports. The course includes
qualitative and quantitative risk analysis models, risk analysis life cycle as
well as methods of evaluating the validity and reliability of risk analysis.
Bayesian probability models, probabilistic risk analysis, root cause analysis
and Failure Mode Analysis are covered.
This course is required for a planned program in Master of
This course is required in Risk Management and Patient
Safety concentration in Master of Science in Health System Management.
This course is an elective in the Master of Science in
Epidemiology and Statistics, in Certificate in Epidemiology and Statistics, and
in Certificate in Health Care Security and Privacy. This course is an
elective in Health System Management Degree concentration in Health Information
Systems and Certificate in Health Information Systems.
This course is open to students not enrolled in a health
degree. It is recommended to students focusing on policy analysis and
To benefit from this course
you need to have the following:
A bachelor or higher
degree from an accredited University. The course is limited to graduate
Familiarity with the US
health care system is not required but all examples are from the US health
care system. Clinicians, managers, analysts, statisticians,
epidemiologists and actuaries are encouraged to enroll.
microphone, speaker, phone line and Internet connection. A fast computer and
modem will save considerable time in this course.
Previous background in
analysis of data and working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is needed.
If you do not have experience with use of Excel, please take free
introductory courses available at your University prior to or concurrent
with enrollment in this course. Microsoft Power Point is needed for viewing
some portions of reading and lectures. Flash reader is needed and provided
in the course site. This prerequisite can be met by a previous course in
statistics. This requirement can be met through HAP 501.
probability models is required. This requirement can be met through a
course on probability, a course in calculus or HAP 730: Decision
Analysis for Healthcare.
If you are not sure you meet
the course requirement please contact the instructor.
A semester long risk analysis project.
Students work within their own organization and obtain reports of 10
incidences of a sentinel event. A causal model leading to the sentinel
events is constructed. Incidence data and experts opinions are
combined and used to examine the validity of the risk model. Analysis
is reported in a brief paper and presented orally. Examples of prior
students work are available through the instructor. Examples could
include analysis of health risks in a community from exposure to a chemical.
Peer evaluation. Students are expected to follow the instructor
supplied rubric to evaluate a project of another student.
Students maintain a diary of causal environmental factors affecting their behavior.
Data are analyzed using risk models. Students learn how risk models
can contribute insight into causes for adverse events.
Participation is key to making the experience of everyone a pleasant one. Internet
courses are not only distance learning but also interactive learning. These courses
benefit from student participation. Class participation is worth 10% of
your grade. Class participation means that in each section, you should
either ask a question (see
how) or complete the minute evaluation for the session
and rate the session.
If you ask a question, your question will be answered on the same web page
within 48 hours and the question and the answer would be available for all students to read and benefit
from. Class participation also means that you would become a member of a
professional organization such as
IHI or other local or
national organizations focused on your career.
Distribution of the grade
Letter grades will correspond to
the following numerical grades:
Student evaluations of the course are available through
http://ratings.gmu.edu if you are using a George Mason University campus
computer. Alternatively, contact the instructor to receive last course
evaluations by email.
Interaction with Faculty. Course faculty are available online and
in-person. Recorded lectures are available online. Students questions
are answered publicly online so all students can benefit from the answers.
Lectures include hands on data analysis.
Learn one, do one, teach one. Students learn better when they
teach the concepts covered in the lectures. For selected assignments,
students are asked to comment on the work of their colleagues using a rubric
provided by the instructor.
Use of technology. Students are expected to be familiar with
Internet use. Some assignments require use of software, provided
through the course. Student reports are required to be presented using
multi-media (narrated slides or videos). Numerous relevant web sites
are found throughout the course. These links provide additional resources
and a means of information exchange, professional networking, and project
Course face to face lectures are scheduled over two weekends. After
each set of classes, students work on their class projects and interact with the
If you are enrolled in this course, you would receive weekly communications
from the course faculty. In order to make sure that you receive the
information on time, please
us with your email address.
If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations,
please see Debbie Wyne and contact the Disability Resource Center at 703
993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the
Disability Resource Center.