BowTie can be used in healthcare organizations such as hospitals to perform risk assessments. Bowtie has multiple advantages as a method for proactive risk analysis, for example the visual character or the diagram is ideal for risk communication.


BowTie can be used in healthcare organizations such as hospitals to perform proactive risk assessment.

It is not sufficient to merely identify risks. Risk need to be analyzed and appropriate safety measures need to be identified and monitored. The bowtie methodology complements risk identification methods like HFMEA studies and provides a deeper understanding of your risks. Questions need to be answered like: “Do we have enough (or too many!) safety measures?”, “can we focus more on hardware / systems, instead of procedures?”, “do we know who is accountable for our safety measures?” and “are the safety measures as adequate and reliable as we thought they would be?”

Bowtie is a qualitative risk analysis method which provides a visual overview of risk that would be much more difficult to explain otherwise. BowTies read intuitively and are easy to tailor to your target audience (e.g. regulator, senior management, department etc.).

Information regarding the safety management system can be linked to the BowTie diagram, for example: effectiveness ratings, documents (e.g. protocols, procedures, policies etc.) and barrier supporting activities. The visual nature of the diagram makes it ideal for risk communication.

Healthcare organisations can use the bowtie risk assessment method to analyze and detect weak points or gaps in how the organization is managing risk. This helps healthcare organizations to create risk-based improvement plans to change patient safety for the better. One of the key goals of this project is using the bowtie risk assessment method for reducing avoidable harm and fatalities in healthcare.

BowTie can be used stand alone for proactive risk assessment, but it can also be used as a framework for risk monitoring. In this way it is possible to see how barriers are performing with the use of audit results and incident data.