Why is healthcare risk management needed?
Risk management in healthcare refers to developing and implementing strategies to prevent or alleviate loss with reference to both capital and patients’ lives. Risk management is potentially more important in healthcare than in any other industry as it could mean the difference between the life and death, making the risks noticeably higher.
Key risks involved in the healthcare industry include patient safety risks, fraudulent claims risks, documentation risks, information technology risks such as security breaches, malicious attacks, system failures and the like, regulatory risks, ethics and integrity risks, environmental and health risks and risks of leveraging social media. Alleviating these risks requires a robust and competent framework. Owing to the complexity of organizational hierarchies and exponentially increasing number of risks and regulations, implementation of such a framework could be extremely challenging.
There exists no ‘one-model-fit-all’ risk management solution since each organization faces unique challenges. However, some key issues that should be addressed in a healthcare risk assessment plan include patient safety, mandatory federal regulations, potential medical error, existing and future policy, legislation impacting the field of healthcare.
What are the steps involved in healthcare risk management?
- Educating employees on how to handle risks
- Updating all documents for the sake of reference
- Establishing coordination between all departments to accelerate the process and to keep a check on malpractice claims
- Taking steps to prevent what is avoidable
- Handling complaints to minimize risks
- Reporting an incident of risk
Who are healthcare risk managers?
A proactive risk management system alone doesn’t serve the purpose. Highly skilled personnel well-trained in implementing the strategies to prevent or alleviate the risk make the entire process complete. A risk manager is the one who is experienced in tackling risk related issues in multiple settings. A healthcare risk manager should be capable of identifying and evaluating risks thus minimizing the chances of injury to patients, staff members and visitors. He/ she are also responsible for analysing current risk management strategies and amending them as per the scenario. The main functional areas of healthcare risk management professionals include financing, insurance and claims management, event and incident management, clinical research, statistical analysis, psychological and human healthcare and emergency preparedness.
A healthcare manager should be smart enough to conduct a risk analyses to detect potential risks and identify:
- What could possibly happen?
- What is the probability of something happening?
- What could be the severity of the outcome if something happens?
- How and to what extent can something be prevented from happening?
- What can be done to minimize the impact of any unsolicited event?
- What cannot be anticipated or proactively avoided?
How to become a healthcare risk manager?
Individuals with educational background in the field of biosciences, pure sciences, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, insurance, law and allied fields can pick a career in healthcare risk management. There are various training courses and programs available to give an extensive methodological training in various aspects of healthcare risk management.
James Lind Institute offers a self-paced certificate program in healthcare risk management which is fully endorsed by the healthcare industry.
For more details on program structure, eligibility, assessment and academic support, please visit: www.jliedu.com
What are the career prospects for healthcare risk managers?
Healthcare risk managers find job opportunities in a variety of organizations such as hospitals, healthcare organizations, government organization, consulting firms, insurance agencies and rehabilitation centres. Highly skilled and experienced professional may also work as freelance risk management consultants.
This field offers a challenging work environment, continual learning and a diverse set of roles and responsibilities.