The healthcare industry is constantly dealing with the outcomes of risks—injury, illness, and accidents. But the industry itself also deals with constant uncertainty, and must continually adapt to changing conditions. The practice of risk management—staying aware of potential threats and dangers, and trying to navigate them—is vital to the healthcare industry.
What Is Risk Management In Healthcare?
Not preparing for potential issues can have major, long-term consequences. Organizations that don’t put together comprehensive risk management plans can end up with worse patient care, increased risk of liability, and potential financial losses. Possible risks therefore have to be evaluated, and organization-specific plans have to be devised and put into place to help navigate potential problems that might arise.
Such plans should include the following questions:
- What might possibly happen?
- How likely is something to happen?
- How severe would the outcome be?
- What can be done to mitigate the risk?
Risk management in healthcare covers many aspects of day-to-day processes as well as long-term planning. For example, a risk management strategy for a hospital could evaluate areas such as financing, insurance, incident management, clinical research and emergency preparedness.
Because each healthcare organization is different and faces different risks, there is no single risk management solution or strategy that will be applicable across the board. Instead, risk managers must consider the unique circumstances, resources, assets, and challenges of an individual hospital or healthcare facility.
The Role of Technology in Risk Management
Emerging technology allows risk managers to better assess and predict risks to healthcare facilities. For example, software like Life Balance’s KPac program generates a comprehensive air balance and testing report—which includes a detailed result from each room as well as the whole building—in order to prevent hospital-acquired infections which can lead to lawsuits and other liabilities. Data security is another area in which technology is helping hospitals better predict and prevent risk. The healthcare industry faced multiple ransomware cybersecurity attacks in 2020, and the FBI has warned of “increased and imminent” cyber threats to hospitals. Experts agree that healthcare organizations need to invest a great deal into cybersecurity programs in the future.
The role of risk managers at healthcare facilities is to understand these challenges, project how they might impact hospitals and healthcare organizations in the future, and help prepare risk management plans that will prevent or minimize harm to patients, staff and visitors.
Life Balance Technologies has developed an integrated solution for air balance auditing that reviews 100 percent of a facility for infection risk. The Life Balance process integrates the mechanical design, HVAC inventory, room application, and industry standards to audit the infection control parameters of an entire building. To learn more about this innovative technology, visit our Software page.