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Risk Data Integration Elevates Healthcare ERM

A truly integrated healthcare risk management platform will improve provider organization efforts to practice effective Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).
By: | April 18, 2017 • 6 min read

Healthcare risk management starts with patient safety. No other industry holds responsibility over people’s quality of life quite like healthcare, where mistakes hold dire consequences for patients, families, providers and organizations.

But there are many more risks to consider beyond this critical area.

Governance and compliance risk, emergency preparedness and business continuity, vendor and supply chain risk and strategic risks don’t exist in isolation. They are all interconnected, and many can impact patient safety.

“Patient safety is the traditional entry point for risk management in healthcare,” said Jay Lechtman, Senior Director, Market Development & Strategy, Riskonnect, “but you also need to look at the whole picture to understand how your risks are connected.”

“Just as healthcare provider organizations adopted lean six sigma from manufacturing, safety checklists from aviation, and high-reliability organizations from nuclear energy and defense, they are now adopting enterprise risk management from other industries — such as financial services — as a best practice.”

But ERM doesn’t necessarily place risks in context, and can still be fragmented. To ensure a more holistic approach, risk managers need to practice it as integrated risk management.

What is Integrated Risk Management?

Senior Director, Market Development & Strategy

Integrated risk management calls for risk managers to see the connections between different areas of risk and find solutions that mitigate the total exposure.

In a primer for member boards and trustees, the American Society of Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) explains that organizations can start with an enterprise risk management approach and then make comparisons among its risks to see how they interact with one another and what cumulative impact they have on the organization.

“That elevated view of risk is integrated risk management,” Lechtman said. AHSRM has been making efforts since 2014 to educate healthcare organizations on integrated risk management and provide tools to develop the approach.

And most if not all of these efforts come back to improving patient safety.

Pharmaceutical supply chain risk, for example, has often been involved with potentially dangerous medication errors.

“Medication errors are a commonly reported patient safety event, and drug shortages have frequently been identified as a causal or contributory factor in these errors,” Lechtman said. “It’s not a surprising fact. Clinicians unfamiliar with new drugs and their prescription and administration protocols are more likely to make mistakes.”

Yet, identifying drug shortages as a factor in isolation requires lengthy investigations, root cause analyses and enough data aggregation to see clear trends.  Somewhere there is a disconnect between supply chain risk management and downstream clinical risk management. Fragmented ERM fails to take into account how vendor risks can directly impact patients.

Now, external resources – like the FDA’s Drug Shortages Database – help healthcare providers monitor and manage this issue, but Lechtman argues that effective integrated risk management could have helped the solve the problem internally.

“In integrated risk management, the pharmacy supply chain risk could be identified and mitigated much faster, with protocols put in place to train staff on use of identified alternative medications to reduce unfamiliarity and error,” Lechtman said.

Crisis management and business continuity offer another example. New Conditions of Participation for Medicare that go into effect later this year will require healthcare providers to improve emergency preparedness, which includes having business continuity plans. Patient safety is again a critical factor in planning for transportation and use of backup supplies and facilities in the event of an emergency.

Nearly all hospitals and health systems report trying to implement ERM at some level of their organization. But, even if they want to integrate it, they have lacked the technology to enable the vision.

“Legacy vendors focus on patient safety, claims and risk management specifically designed for healthcare. They don’t support broader risk management, governance and compliance risk that healthcare organizations sorely need,” he said.

Achieving True Integration

Other industries, where patient safety isn’t a consideration, have been working towards an integrated approach for years. The financial services sector, for example, has been implementing Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) solutions for much longer due to its exposure to regulatory and compliance risk. The healthcare industry’s late arrival to ERM gives it a unique opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes and “leapfrog” over other sectors, Lechtman said.

“Just as much of the developed world skipped building expensive wired communications infrastructure in favor of cell phones, healthcare has the opportunity to leapfrog into true integrated risk management and avoid the pitfalls of a fragmented, siloed ERM approach,” he said.

However, “it’s hard to succeed in integrated risk management when information systems can’t handle it,” Lechtman said.

The ideal integrated risk management solutions for healthcare need to excel at helping provider organizations identify and manage their unique hazard risks — like patient safety — while seamlessly scaling to other insurable and strategic risks types that healthcare shares with other industries. And, of course, they need to be able to secure sensitive healthcare data and support healthcare privacy compliance.

Seeing is Believing

Riskonnect’s Integrated Risk Management Solutions™ check all the boxes. Scalable on a single platform, the system can handle everything from patient safety, patient relations, claims and litigation management, peer review, accreditation and HIPAA compliance, employee safety and health, governance risk, reputation risk, reimbursement risk, vendor and supply chain risk, business continuity management and strategic risk.

“We’ve taken lessons from other industries, and we’ve incorporated that into our healthcare approach so that, instead of providing another limited point solution, we can do everything for healthcare risk and do it well,” Lechtman said.

Riskonnect backs up its technology with a combination of clinical healthcare experience and risk management expertise is that is necessary for risk managers to draw the connections between patient safety and other risk areas.

“If you can make the connection from other risk areas back to patient safety, you can improve that critical risk area faster and more effectively. “Limited and siloed patient safety systems just can’t do that.”

Riskonnect’s Integrated Risk Management Solutions™ can house and allow access to data and workflows connected to all risks. The solutions provide all the functions that a risk manager or claims professional might need, from notifications to determination of compensability through to follow-ups, and everything in between.

The description alone is compelling, but nothing compares to actually experiencing everything the system can do on a day-to-day basis.

“Seeing really is believing,” said Lechtman. “People are blown away when they see what true integrated risk management can accomplish.”

For more information on Riskonnect Healthcare, visit: https://riskonnect.com/integrated-risk-management-solutions/healthcare/

For more information on Riskonnect Integrated Risk Management Solutions, visit: https://riskonnect.com/integrated-risk-management-solutions/

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Riskonnect. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Riskonnect is the only global provider of Integrated Risk Management technology solutions. Built on the world’s leading cloud platform, Riskonnect finally allows you to break down the silos and unite your entire organization.

Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]