Risk Management and Risk Stratification in Hospitals
Risk Management in the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks in an organization followed by coordinated and economical applications of the organization’s resources (and sometimes outside resources and outside help) to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events and maximize the achievements of opportunities.
Risk management is done in every industry, some industries can’t even function without daily risk management. Industries like finance and investment need daily risk management and assessment to guide their every decision. In the healthcare industry, Risk Management in Hospitals is used to improve overall patient outcomes and quality of care. As important as this is, managing risk in healthcare organizations and hospitals can be quite challenging. One of the main reasons why it’s so challenging is that risk managers often joggle their job of risk identification and risk management with other job responsibilities within the healthcare organization.
Risk management in healthcare organizations is responsible for identifying high-risk areas that could cause harm to patients, visitors and even employees hence it involves implementing programs to avert risks and managing a robust process for adverse events that might and do occur.
Considering the importance of risk managers performing at full capacity in identifying risks, there are solutions that can be put in place by healthcare organizations to ensure they focus on their core duty of manage risks. One major and proven solution is establishing a healthcare enterprise data warehouse.
Risk managers need adverse event information to be accessible in a central location where all collaborating departments can see it simultaneously. That is where a healthcare enterprise data warehouse (EDW) comes into play.
The principal function of an enterprise data warehouse is to serve as a single source of truth by aggregating and validating data from various source systems across an organization so everyone has access to the same accurate data. Once the enterprise data warehouse platform is in place, the health system can add a simple data entry application tool that runs on top of the EDW but stores the data in the EDW.
This web-based data collection tool enables users like risk managers to create simple forms and publish those forms to a set of collaborators. Instead of communicating with a group of collaborators via email and attempting to capture feedback in a spreadsheet, risk managers can see and comment on the adverse event in one location and in a timely manner.
In addition to being able to view information in a central location, there are additional benefits to using a data warehouse with a data entry application tool. Each department’s representative can submit and save his or her feedback about the event, which is then accessible to the other parties involved. Everyone can also see who has evaluated and signed off on the event.
This solution not only streamlines the review process; it also makes the process more accurate. By replacing manual work with automation through the EDW, the likelihood of data entry errors are reduced because risk managers no longer need to consolidate information from various emails and spreadsheets.
This approach to risk management adds more functionality than what’s available from the many standalone risk management applications currently on the market. While such applications are able to track events, that’s the extent of what they can do.
They aren’t able to monitor the evaluation and investigation process for each risk event, and their usability is limited to drop down answers that aren’t robust enough to capture the unique details of each event. In other words, risk management is very essential to healthcare organizations and should be prioritized and handled efficiently for the benefit of patients, employees, and stakeholders.
Conclusion on Risk Management and Risk Stratification
Hopefully, in prioritizing our diabetes patient, we give him or her the extra care and attention needed, and we can actually prevent diabetes from getting worse. The “prevent” or risk stratification is, of course, the most important step and ultimate goal in this process. There are a variety of different ways organizations can do risk stratification, but the end result is the same. You want to be classifying all patients based on many factors (including historical data) and using these classifications to prevent future consequences down the road. Obviously preventing readmission is good for our patient’s sake, but readmission is also is very costly. Check out this infographic on Why Care Coordination Matters.
Implementing risk stratification might be difficult. You need to gather a huge amount of data and learn what risk stratification method works best for you. But, like all of healthcare data and analytics, this process will greatly help your healthcare organization, both in patient care and in cost and time savings. The Health Intelligence Network blog has many posts about risk stratification, including valuable infographics like the one above. Check out this list of benefits when implementing risk stratification. It seems like a pretty obvious next step, in a time when we are digitizing all our records and trying to see how we can use such data to improve healthcare for the future.