From the onset, hospitals and healthcare organizations have been risky environments—home to life and death situations on a daily basis, even if you discount the growing number of risks we face in our modern world.

That being said, the turmoil so many businesses experience today is exponentially magnified in hospital and healthcare environments. Many of these risks are explored in the recent white paper “Critical Risks Facing the Healthcare Industry,” published by Chubb.

According to the white paper, the top critical issues facing hospital leadership, include:

  1. Cyber Risk
  2. Preparedness for Pandemics
  3. Violent Incidents in Hospitals and Healthcare Settings

These challenges align with what we’re hearing from our clients and here’s why:

Cyber Risk

Greater reliance on technology and the shift to electronic health records has left the healthcare industry increasingly exposed to cyber risk. In fact, the healthcare industry has seen an 18 percent increase in breaches since 2015, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights started publishing major breaches it was investigating.

Not only do hospitals and healthcare organizations have to consider how they protect their data, they also need to be concerned with how they remain compliant with regulations in the event of a breach—like those requirements regarding how and when to notify patients or parties affected by a breach.

On-site Violence

Healthcare workers are at an increased risk for workplace violence. According to information from OSHA, “from 2002 to 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence were four times more common in healthcare than in private industry on average.”

And in 2013, there were 7.8 cases of serious workplace violence per 10,000 full-time employees in the “healthcare and social assistance sector,” versus two cases per 10,000 full-time employees in other large sectors like construction, manufacturing, according to the same OSHA information.

To protect against violence at hospitals and healthcare organizations, it’s extremely important to assess potential risks by tracking data and incidents; develop, communicate and enforce policies that disallow workplace violence, as well as encourage the reporting of it; and educate and train personnel on how to guard against workplace violence.

Pandemic Readiness

Preventing the spread of infectious diseases in a healthcare setting—among both healthcare professionals and the patient population—is also becoming increasingly important to hospitals and healthcare organizations.

Increased likelihood of pandemic outbreak can be explained by more frequent global travel among people; population crowding; increased flooding, which can spread disease; and inadequate numbers of healthcare providers to treat an infected population.

Naturally, concerns regarding pandemic outbreak filter down to healthcare organizations as they are the first line of defense. Adequate disaster planning, appropriate and accessible protective equipment, disease containment and training and education are necessary for mitigating risk in a healthcare setting.

How Healthcare Risk Management Technology Can Help

Hospitals and healthcare organizations that want to manage through these emerging risks, of course, would be well-suited to think through the unique challenges each one presents. However, those organizations that see these risks—as well as all other risks—as interrelated, will likely see the most success.

By integrating risks, hospitals and healthcare organizations can instead solve for any underlying issues causing multiple risks, as well as factor in the potential upsides of risks that could actually create value—like expanding provider types or care settings to generate revenue.

For example, while a pandemic outbreak might sound entirely different than a cyber attack, each issue requires attention to incident reporting, communication, training, compliance, root cause analysis and more. To realize their commonalities, though, it’s critical that stakeholders from across the entire organization are engaged in the risk management process and have access to the same reliable institutional data.

This is where Integrated Enterprise Risk Management technology becomes a necessity. Not only does it capture and automate the many processes associated with managing any type of risk, it also generates data and analytics to further inform and evolve your integrated ERM program—all from one place.

The right technology vendors will be familiar with Integrated ERM processes—and not just bells and whistles technology—helping ensure the system models your hospital or healthcare organization’s Integrated Enterprise Risk Management framework for consistency and effectiveness during implementation.

When selecting a software vendor to help with your healthcare organization’s integrated ERM needs, take into account their security, scalability, performance and integration capabilities to ensure you’re partnering with the best service and software provider.

Read, “Going Beyond Traditional Healthcare Risk Management: How Enterprise Risk Management is Evolving and Shaping Healthcare Today.”