- Don't let risk management be the last to know
No one likes being left out. When it comes to risk management, being the last to know can have much bigger consquences than hurt feelings. Risk managers often find that they’re not informed when it comes to major transactions in an organization (mergers, acquisitions, etc.) until it’s too late. Risk managers need the benefit of a sufficient amount of lead time to understand all of the risks, review insurance requirements and create a complete risk management plan. However, given the increased scrutiny given to hospital mergers, we may start to see a decline in buying and selling hospitals.
- Healthcare is an industry like no other
Taking proven concepts from other industries, like aviation and manufacturing, and applying them to healthcare risk management is a long established practice. Just look at the popularity of Lean management and Six Sigma training in hospitals. But there's a lot more room for variation in healthcare and not considering all the factors could be catastrophic. These factors include people as both part of the system (following processes and procedures) and part of the product (the healthcare services provided). Changing people's behavior isn't easy so we should design the system for the people doing the work instead of the people analyzing the data.
That being said, the influence of HRO – originally developed by other industries – was certainly felt at ASHRM this year. With HRO being a major player, rare and severe incidents like OR fires, wrong-site surgery and infant abductions were more of a concern than traditional topics like fall reduction strategies.
Interested in learning more about applying HRO principles at your hospital? Attend the AHA's upcoming webinar, Building a Patient and Employee Safety HRO Program.
- If you don't find the system error, keep looking
The growing consensus around the healthcare risk management industry is that preventable medical errors are rarely the fault of people. The discovery of human error is merely an indicator of a system error. Every outcome produced starts with a system; these systems need to be designed around the caregivers. Thought leaders have categorized corrective actions as one of three options: Weak (strictly behavior), Moderate (system and behavior) or Strong (system only). They stress the importance of continuing to analyze events to uncover the underlying system error that created the environment for the error.
Interested in more reading about more hot trends from ASHRM? Check out the top 4 claims management trends that were discussed at the conference.