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Healthcare threat assessment: classifying attacks, developing a team, and managing threats

Transue, Emilie (2019) Healthcare threat assessment: classifying attacks, developing a team, and managing threats. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Despite its healing mission and purpose, the healthcare environment is not immune to violence. Healthcare workplace violence affects workers, patients, and visitors alike, ranging from the reactive violence of a delirious senior citizen to the targeted violence of an aggrieved intimate partner. This paper proposes integrating the Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention and the field of Threat Assessment and Management to implement interdisciplinary threat assessment teams who identify, manage, and mitigate workplace threat. The public health relevance is expanding violence prevention to the healthcare workplace and improving quantitative methods of defining and counting violent attacks. Public health is public safety; the healthcare environment needs a culture of safety to ensure the health, safety and well-being of its entire population.

Starting with Stage One of the Approach, define and monitor the problem, this paper adapts common definitions of workplace violence to the healthcare environment in Classifying Healthcare Attacks and Threats (CHAT). CHAT definitions are demonstrated through real-life examples and its methodological application to a nationwide dataset of active shooter incidents. With these consistent definitions, healthcare organizations can more accurately move through the remaining stages, from identifying risk to developing prevention strategies. Integrating threat assessment is such a strategy, managing and preventing targeted violence by identifying and offering non-violent options for those on along the pathway for violence.

The paper concludes with an introduction to threat assessment teams, healthcare and non-healthcare industry examples, and a discussion of the major ethical and logistical uncertainties. Organizations must determine when the invasion of individual privacy is justified by the need for public safety or how to handle reporting complicated by unconscious bias. Despite these uncertainties, implementing threat assessment in the healthcare operates on the main principle of all other public health programs, that prevention is the best policy. Targeted workplace violence, while harmful and disturbing, is identifiable, measurable, and preventable. Healthcare Threat Assessment is another important public health approach to violence prevention that ensures the health, safety and well-being of our communities.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Transue, Emilieemt59@pitt.eduemt59
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinegold, Daviddnf@pitt.edudnfUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberRozel, Jackrozeljs@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinegold, David
Date: 14 June 2019
Date Type: Submission
Defense Date: 20 June 2019
Submission Date: 3 June 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 76
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Multidisciplinary MPH
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2019 00:03
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 15:28

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