What Is Enterprise Risk Management in Healthcare: An In-Depth Guide for 2024

14 Jul 2023

14 Min




Maximizing patient care while navigating numerous challenges is a top priority for healthcare organizations. The industry faces multifaceted risks, from escalating demands and dwindling reimbursements to stringent regulations. In the past, organizations dealt with threats individually, leaving room for potential oversights. However, a paradigm shift has occurred as successful healthcare organizations embrace a proactive approach through Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).

As a skilled healthcare software development vendor with 11+ years of domain expertise, we'd like to share our experience and help you understand what is ERM in healthcare and how you can benefit from it. We'll also explore how to implement ERM into your workflow to handle risks effectively.

What is ERM in Healthcare: Basic Concepts

What is Enterprise Risk Management in Healthcare? Medical Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is a strategy that maximizes value preservation and production by managing uncertainties and hazards and how they relate to the total value.

The ERM aims for:

  • Locating and evaluating a wide range of risks influencing the accomplishment of health institution goals
  • Ensuring that risks are properly accountable
  • Creating and executing suitable risk mitigation monitoring programs, etc.

To dive deeper into the topic, let’s look at the must-have constituents of a successful enterprise risk management healthcare strategy.

Core elements of an effective healthcare ERM program

To secure stability in health institutions’ workflows, ERM employs an apparent and continuous approach that actively detects and reassesses the numerous strategic and primary risks.

There are five distinct components due to which the healthcare ERM approach works:

Strategy identification

Discuss the business strategies of a particular medical establishment and the dangers related to the defined strategies.

Crucial risks choice

Think about the main risks that may endanger the hospital's overall functioning.

Dangers assessment

Examine the predefined hazards to understand their potential.

Risks solution

Choose the best-fitting risk response variants to face the particular hazards appropriately.

Data track

Continuously monitor the ERM data at all levels of the various departments.

This process brings many benefits to solving healthcare establishments’ functioning, organizational and other problems. We’ll discuss the major advantages of ERM to your healthcare establishment workflows and patient care.

How Healthcare Organizations Can Benefit from ERM Adoption

Organizations that do not have a healthcare Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program may encounter difficulties in forecasting necessary future actions to maintain competitiveness and financial stability. Nevertheless, the ERM adoption is slow, more and more medical providers and institutions apply to it to properly organize their dealing with arising hazards and take the benefits the strategy offers.

We’ve done our own research and found that the companies deal with ERM to get the following common advantages of the risk management strategy.

The common advantages of the ERM use

The common advantages of the ERM use

Patient care enhancement. Healthcare organizations face tremendous challenges in ensuring patient safety and providing value-based care models. ERM allows medical providers and establishments to identify, assess, monitor, and control risks while considering changes in the dynamic healthcare environment.

By incorporating ERM in healthcare operations, organizations can enhance patient care in many ways. For example, ERM can help identify potential dangers and develop risk mitigation strategies, thereby reducing the likelihood of harm occurring to patients. Additionally, when risk is managed effectively, healthcare organizations can focus resources on providing high-quality care and increasing value for patients.

Thoughtful investment. The healthcare industry faces a set of financial risk exposures due to an ever-evolving regulatory landscape and the complexities of providing patient care. That’s why, risk management is essential for organizations to manage the hazards of an improper investment effectively.

ERM provides a framework for healthcare organizations to handle investment risks. Particularly, it helps organizations better understand the financial implications of potential investments and allows them to proactively create strategies to reduce or eliminate any possible losses.

Compliance issues resolutions. Compliance is an important aspect of healthcare, with strict regulations governing how healthcare providers must operate. If health organizations fail to adhere to these regulations, it can result in serious financial penalties or even loss of licensure.

ERM helps healthcare organizations comply with all applicable laws and regulations. By focusing on the risks associated with non-compliance, the risk management strategy helps medical service providers identify potential areas of vulnerability and create plans for mitigating those risks. This can include enforcing policies and procedures to ensure compliance, monitoring the connected processes, and conducting regular audits to verify compliance.

Resilience maintaining. Medical organizations and service providers are highly vulnerable to risks and disruptions due to the complexity of their operations. These risks include natural disasters, regulatory changes, financial losses, cyber-attacks, and operational failures.

ERM is increasingly becoming an important factor for healthcare organizations to consider to stay competitive and compliant through all circumstances. It enables medical institutions to stay resilient against problems and render health services flawlessly.

Enhanced workflows. The redundancies that often transpire due to operating in silos can also be eliminated by healthcare ERM. Consequently, transparency and collaboration mean less likelihood of creating additional problems in one area after solving a problem in another. By integrating ERM into the organizational structure, resources can be allocated more efficiently throughout the system, which leads to getting the workflows' seamlessness and speeding them up.

The possibilities are endless regarding reaping the rewards of these benefits. As an example, healthcare organizations are transitioning from fee-for-service or volume-based payment models to value-based payment models, being motivated by the quality of care they deliver to patients.

Seeking help integrating ERM?

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Risk Ranking in Healthcare and Their Management

Healthcare institutions face numerous risks when offering patients seamless and secure medical services. To understand how to struggle against these dangers by providing the proper healthcare ERM strategy, you should understand their potential impact and the likelihood to occur.

Look through our below hazard classification based on the Crowe report, which will give you more categorization details.

Clinical risks

Clinical risk encompasses any operational factor or event that may negatively affect patient safety or lead to an adverse consequence. Such hazards include medication errors, surgical complications, healthcare-associated infections, misdiagnoses, and patient falls.

Financial and operational hazards

This wide category of risks refers to monetary and staffing factors influencing the health services rendered. These are revenue, budgeting, resource allocation, and cost overrun factors, as well as ones connected to personnel training, quality of procedures, staff overworking, and, consequently, errors arising.

Legal and regulatory compliance risks

This type of risk is caused by violations of patient privacy and confidentiality, failure to adhere to healthcare billing and coding regulations, non-compliance with licensing and accreditation requirements, and failure to meet quality standards.

Technology dangers

These healthcare risks are IT-related and connected to electronic health records (EHRs), cybersecurity, data breaches, and system failures. They include unauthorized access to patient data, critical data loss, system vulnerabilities, and technological obsolescence.

Emerging hazards

Emerging hazards in healthcare refer to unpredictable and new circumstances, including cybersecurity threats, pandemic preparedness, evolving regulatory requirements, and emerging treatment modalities.

A well-planned enterprise risk management for healthcare organizations can solve all the enlisted risks. An experienced healthcare software development provider can help you properly implement the Enterprise Risk Management approach through robust and secure software delivery.

How to manage healthcare risks

How to manage healthcare risks

How to Implement ERM in Healthcare to Get the Full Benefit

You should act step-by-step after deciding to integrate ERM into your medical establishment flows. We have prepared a comprehensive plan for you on how to work on a risk management strategy implementation.

Define your business aims

First, you should consider why you need healthcare enterprise risk management and what risks it can handle (e.g., cybersecurity, finance, or resource allocation dangers). Make an ERM implementation plan that clearly states their purpose and the benefits the organization would achieve from successfully implementing them.

It is also important to define specific goals that would assist a healthcare facility in reducing liability claims, medical malpractice, and the overall cost of potential risks, as well as metrics for measuring these goals. Moreover, the risk management plan should outline all steps necessary to reduce or eliminate the identified hazards.

Assess your current risks and prioritize them

After you identified your institutional aims and risks that threaten them, categorize the identified risks based on their nature and impact on your healthcare organization. For instance, such a classification may include:

  • Clinical risks (e.g., patient safety, medical errors)
  • Operational risks (e.g., supply chain disruptions, technology failures)
  • Financial risks (e.g., billing errors, reimbursement changes)
  • Legal and regulatory risks, etc.

Then, you should evaluate the identified hazards based on their probability of occurrence and impact they could have. Develop a risk assessment matrix incorporating these factors and visually represent risk levels in a numerical scale or color-coded system.

Create a risk management team

A risk management team is necessary to implement the ERM strategy in your healthcare establishment properly. It should comprise the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), and other people responding to your organization to fulfill its mission.

They will help you supervise and maintain the ERM process through regular meetings and information sharing to understand risk management principles, tools, methods to solve the arising problems, etc.

Find a skilled IT tech partner

All the collected information can be used for developing Risk Management Information System (RMIS) for your hospital or clinic. To accomplish this aim, you can apply to a seasoned outsourcing healthcare software development provider that will consult you on your tech issues and help solve them flawlessly.

Collaborating with an IT vendor on your risk management solution creation, you can outsource the entire project or use software development outstaffing. The choice depends on your particular needs and resources.

  • Outsourcing means hiring a third-party IT company (e.g., a medical software building provider) to handle the entire software development process under the full supervision of a tech provider.
  • Outstaffing involves augmenting your in-house team with dedicated remote resources (e.g., several developers with the healthcare expertise) provided by an IT partner. In this case, you can fill the talent gap by hiring the required experts to build the RMIS solution, but the workflow control is on your shoulders.

When choosing between the above options, you should consider your specific project requirements, budget constraints, timeline and flexibility demands, in-house resources, and level of control you desire.

Discover how to implement the ERM strategy with the help of our healthcare software development services

RMIS development and integration

In case you outsource the RMIS project to be developed by a vendor, the provider company will handle the entire software creation process. It will start with in-depth consultations with you, which will help them get more information about the future project, build a feature list, and choose your future solution’s secure and robust architecture and infrastructure. Then the specialists will prepare a UI/UX design of your upcoming Risk Management Information System and develop its functionality.

The QA engineers will properly test all the developed parts of the system to ensure the risk management software’s flawlessness and security. The development team will also help you properly launch the system on the day of its release. Moreover, they will care about your healthcare institution’s staff to be educated on how to use the newly created RMIS solution appropriately.

Maintenance and continuous improvement

You should realize that collaboration with the IT vendor doesn’t end up when the RMIS is ready. The vendor’s specialists will constantly collect the early users’ feedback and make system upgrades (e.g., adding new features) or check it for bugs to ensure its seamless work. This way, the technical side of your healthcare enterprise risk management will be in safe hands.

Make risk management system with us

Our team will help you build risk control system while ensuring compliance and optimizing efficiency

Possible Challenges in Healthcare Risk Management to Be Prepared For

Medical organizations should care about avoiding risks to the health of their patients. It can help them enhance care quality, improve service rendering and attract new patients.

Heather Anolino enlightens the said in the following way:

Heather Anolino

Heather Anolino

Healthcare Practice Senior Director of Ventiv Technology

...We all go into this profession to help people. <...> Patient safety technology has a real opportunity to support staff by uncovering areas in which processes can be improved. In that way, a staff member’s experience and knowledge can be elevated while minimizing potential downsides.

To properly help people, as Anolino says, your healthcare establishment should identify the major challenges in the domain risk management. It will help you to keep the staff and the patients safer.

Regulatory and compliance

Healthcare organizations face complex regulatory and compliance challenges that cover clinical care, data privacy, and patient rights. That’s why organizations must invest in understanding and implementing regulations, including policies, staff training, safeguards, audits, and staying updated on ERM healthcare changes.

Failure to meet regulatory requirements can compromise patient safety, privacy, and the quality of care provided. Furthermore, it can entail financial penalties, loss of accreditation, reputational damage, and legal action. Healthcare software development vendors can help you avoid such troubles in the following way:

  • They can help you understand and comply with policies and regulations because they know the rules and stay updated on changes.
  • Healthcare software providers can help with data security and privacy regulations like HIPAA, creating secure data storage, encryption, access controls, and audit trails to protect patient information.
  • They also facilitate data exchange and include compliance features like audit logs and patient consent management.
  • Vendors can address compliance gaps and take corrective actions.
  • They provide training and education on compliance for healthcare organizations, including staff training, regulatory updates, best practices for risk management and compliance, etc.

How to start HIPAA compliant software development? Read the basics in our article!

Data management

Managing piles of healthcare data is a big challenge because it needs to be collected, organized, analyzed, and protected to make informed decisions and keep patients safe. Incomplete or inaccurate health data records can seriously affect risk management efforts. It can also lead to wrong risk assessments, misdiagnoses, and bad decision-making. To ensure data accuracy, use proper validation processes, standardized data entry protocols, and ongoing quality checks to find and fix errors.

Healthcare organizations must invest in robust data management systems, technologies, and skilled personnel to address data management challenges effectively. This includes implementing advanced data integration platforms, data governance frameworks, data analytics tools, and comprehensive security measures. Additionally, organizations must prioritize ongoing staff training, adhere to best practices in data management, and stay updated with evolving regulations and industry standards to ensure effective healthcare risk management.

Communication issues

Effective communication is vital for ensuring patient safety, delivering quality care, and managing risks. However, in many healthcare organizations, departments operate in silos, with limited communication and information sharing. This can lead to fragmented care, miscommunication, duplicated efforts, and increased risks.

Siloed communication hampers collaboration and prevents the seamless flow of information across departments. To solve the problem, your establishment should cultivate communication skills and enhance interdepartmental collaboration inside the company.

Absence of ERM experience

The absence of healthcare enterprise risk management experience and personnel education poses significant challenges. Without the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise, healthcare organizations may struggle to effectively identify, assess, and mitigate risks. This can result in suboptimal risk management practices, leaving them vulnerable to adverse events and compromising patient safety.

Healthcare establishments must invest in education and training programs, hire or develop risk management professionals, foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, engage external consultants, implement risk management frameworks and tools, establish a risk management culture, and continuously monitor and improve risk management practices to address these challenges and ensure robust risk management processes for the safety and well-being of patients.

Moreover, medical institutions can collaborate with IT vendors and order healthcare learning management system development to care about their staff education through digital technologies.

Technology and infrastructure choice

Healthcare organizations have various options when selecting technologies and infrastructure for risk management solutions. Making informed decisions is essential for successful healthcare ERM implementation.

The challenge arises from the complex nature of healthcare systems, the diverse risk management needs, and the ever-evolving technology landscape. Healthcare establishments must consider multiple factors, such as data security, interoperability, scalability, usability, and compliance with regulatory requirements. It is also necessary to evaluate the compatibility of the selected technology and infrastructure with current systems and workflows to achieve smooth integration and minimize disruptions.

Moreover, the collaboration with IT experts skilled in tech infrastructure assessment will help you to properly handle this kind of challenge. The IT specialists will also help you deploy healthcare digital solutions or modernize legacy software using reliable architecture.

Cleveroad - Your Reliable Partner in Healthcare Software Development

Cleveroad is a healthcare software development company located in the CEE region. Since 2011, we’ve been helping healthcare businesses (clinics, medical establishments, medical providers, etc.) to build and deliver robust healthcare and telemedicine solutions allowing them to boost the quality of the patient care through the means of the specialized software and improve interaction between medical service providers, their clients and patients.

You'll receive the following benefits by collaborating with us:

  • Proper healthcare enterprise risk management and evaluation through the delivered medical software integrated with the system you need (e.g., patient portals, EHR, EMR, or e-RX services)
  • Secure healthcare solutions compliant with specific industry data regulations, like GDPR, HIPAA, PIPEDA, or HITECH, for different target markets
  • On-demand medical software building services: building healthcare solutions from scratch, IT consulting, legacy system modernization, tech infrastructure assessment, etc.
  • A comprehensive consultation with our Senior Solution Architect on how to provide system’s scalability and robustness through architecture and infrastructure choice s
  • The software development team of agile-minded experts that are profoundly experienced in all the ins and outs of healthcare software development.

We are ready to become your tech partner in developing healthcare software that appropriately deals with your medical establishment’s daily risks. You can start this cooperation by messaging our Healthcare Business Development Manager for a consultation. We will contact you within 24 hours to clarify the details.

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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Enterprise Risk Management in healthcare?

Medical Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is a strategy that maximizes value preservation and production by managing uncertainties and hazards and how they relate to the total value.

What are the principles of risk management in healthcare?

These are the following principles actual for ERM in healthcare: strategy identification, crucial risks choice, dangers assessment, risks solution, data track.

How does enterprise risk management reduce risk in healthcare?

It helps to enhance patient care and assists in making thoughtful budget expenditures. Moreover, ERM resolves compliance issues. It also assists the establishments stay resilient against the rising hazards, enhancing healthcare workflows.

How can the IT vendor help me overcome the compliance hazards?

First off, they can help you understand and comply with policies and regulations. They are also capable of dealing with data security and privacy regulations. Additionally, the providers facilitate data exchange and include compliance features.

While you collaborate with vendors, they also address compliance gaps and take corrective actions. When the development is finished, they provide training and education on compliance for healthcare organizations.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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