The Ultimate Guide to Risk Management Software for Healthcare

To say that today’s world moves at a fast pace would be an understatement. If there is any constant in modern society, it’s change — and rapid change, at that. Even the most well-meaning efforts to define and contain risks to everyday operations are, at best, “moving target” estimates that rely only on what we know of the past and what we can guess of the future. And yet, if we can be sure of anything, it’s this: disruptions will happen. Threats will materialize.

Some we can predict. Most we can’t.

For many companies, “we don’t know what we don’t know” is good enough. But for healthcare, it can’t be. Your hospital needs to be more prepared. Faster at restoring operations. Better at responding to — and quickly mitigating — threats. In other words, more resilient. Below is an overview of the state of data security in the healthcare industry in 2015. 

Source: Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data, Ponemon Institute

A Review: Hospitals as "critical infrastructure"

“Critical infrastructure” is the phrase used to conveniently refer to all the physical, electronic and human assets that underpin the effective functioning of our society.

It’s the energy that powers everything we use. The communications technology that connects us with family, friends and fellow citizens around the world. The transportation that moves us. The water we drink and the food we eat. And yes, the healthcare system that all of us rely on in times of crisis, whether personal or public.

Without hyperbole, healthcare is perhaps more necessary than ever in the 21st century. Our society faces more and greater threats —increasingly frequent and destructive weather events, acts of shocking violence that verge on becoming routine, more pervasive and more extensive cyber breaches…

The very real possibility exists that any business, in any industry, could cease operations nearly instantly.

Hospitals, however, face another threat. Like other critical industries, a major disruption in your ability to respond and serve could result in disastrous loss of life and shake public confidence to its foundations. Clearly, our 21st century demands new methods of mitigating new risks. Enter security, risk and compliance software.

Quick Facts

Source: AHA Hospital Statistics, 2015 edition, American Hospital Association

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015

What is Incident Management Software?

From minor server failures to major power outages, incidents happen every day. In healthcare, however, even small issues can cause big problems.

That’s a fact of which you’re likely all too aware… but what are you doing to prevent those problems?

Incident management software can both provide insight into the past and offer a degree of predictability about the future — whether you’re looking to improve hospital security or simply identify a pattern of slips and falls in the parking lot. Software can inform your organization’s response to incident trends, steer policy decisions, and help satisfy compliance requirements.

The right technology can help you visualize past incident information, predict threat patterns, and manage your response to on-going crises in real-time.

Capture incidents, classify them by impact and urgency, assign them to staff or authorities for quick response, then manage and report on compliance… With the appropriate software, you can do all that and more.

In other words, incident management software can show you what happened in the past as a way of better coping with what’s to come — all while helping you maintain the hospital services that the public so desperately depends on.

Below are some of the top security concerns of US hospitals in 2014.

Top Security Concerns of US Hospitals in 2014. Source: Guardian 8

What is Risk Management Software?

Managing risks isn’t a “normal” behavior. Executives, because they’re only human, tend to make mistakes when assessing the likelihood that something bad will happen.

For example, according to Harvard Business Review, if you’re called on to assess organizational risks, chances are good that you will:

  • Think that extreme events can be predicted, instead of concentrating on what would happen if they did.
  • Look too much at the past as a way to predict future risks — despite the fact that there’s no such thing as a “typical” crisis.
  • Tend to ignore advice about what not to do.

In other words, even if you’ve taken steps to protect your hospital against risk, your blind spots may still keep you unsafe. That’s where risk management software can help. Broadly speaking, risk management software helps you identify and assess the risks associated with your assets — whether that’s the maglock system that controls access to parts of your building or the resilience of your software systems — and then communicate those risks to the business.

How? Through the process of collecting and collating data across your enterprise, good software can indicate where your biggest risks lie. It can also help you move beyond data to insight, meaning you’ll be able to better assess and mitigate risk.

Risk vs. Preparation

Information security may be only one aspect of IT risk, but it’s a big one.

Source: Operational Risk Management Excellence – Get to Strong Survey (KPMG), Chart 19

What is Compliance Software?

These days there are enough regulatory acronyms to make your head spin: TJC, CMS, PHA, CQC… One report, for example, estimates the annual bill for more than half the hospitals in the United States ranges from $500,000 to $1 million or more.

It’s safe to say that — if only from a financial perspective — keeping pace with compliance requirements is more important than ever. However, compliance is “easier said than done” when multiple collection systems exist in different business groups. Without an accurate top-level view of your compliance activities, you’re courting disaster.

That’s where compliance software comes in. If you had real-time access to the data you needed to support proof of your organization’s compliance, you could more confidently report out. And by seeing the root causes of deficiencies early in the process, you could dramatically reduce the time you spend determining the status of processes, risks, controls, tests and remediation efforts. In fact, the right software does more than enable compliance — it ensures peace of mind.

How much does compliance software cost?

The below graph shows the total approximate annual budget for compliance and related activities by percentage of hospitals surveyed. 

Source: State of Compliance 2014, PWC

Complacency is not an option

If it’s not already obvious, a “set it and forget it” approach to incident management, risk management and compliance is wildly insufficient. You need a proactive approach to security — one that touches on four strategies:

  • Avoiding security incidents altogether.
  • Comprehensively assessing and managing risks.
  • Rapidly detecting incidents and threats, and
  • Recovering from incidents as quickly as possible.

The good news? Software can make all of that easier. True — as software moves to the cloud, attackers have a growing number of security exposures to attempt to exploit. Simply put, the more your hospital moves online, the greater the number of threats you’ll face.

But provided you take the appropriate steps to secure it, of course, cloud-based software can enable incredible efficiency savings as you work to protect your organization from anywhere you need to. It’s never been simpler to use software to identify, assess, manage and report on risk.

Crimes in hospitals in 2013. Source: 2014 Healthcare Crime Survey, International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation

What is the relationship between incident management, risk, and compliance?

The world, it seems, faces increased threats every day. Extreme weather events compete daily with terrorist actions for newspaper headlines, and security breaches grow more numerous than ever.

So, as compliance and reporting requirements increase on top of everything else — how can hospitals keep up?

Most organizations respond to an increased sense of threat with more reviews, audits, and scans — but these generate piles of data that need to be sifted through for patterns and trends.

But what if there were a single software platform that could notify you of incidents both big and small… that could also identify potential risks and vulnerabilities… and collect information on all of it, in order to ease the process of complying with and reporting on regulations and standards?

There is.

With the big picture that Resolver provides, you can track and respond to incidents better, gain insight into the reasons those incidents happen, remediate them based on a better, more holistic awareness of your organization, and report on it all when it comes time to fulfill your compliance requirements.

Resolver: Your risk backbone

At Resolver, we understand that healthcare faces unique challenges — which is what has made us the risk backbone for hospitals across North America and around the world.

By focusing your efforts on what matters most and eliminating unnecessary activities, Resolver enables you to find the right balance between risk and reward. In short, it helps you build a risk management program that works — driving insight and protecting value.

For over a decade, we have provided organizations like yours with decision-making, internal control, internal audit, compliance and risk management solutions. We make it simple for hospitals to address business, audit, risk, and compliance issues proactively — and to demonstrate and document these efforts to internal and external stakeholders.

When you partner with Resolver, you’ll leverage the power of the most complete cloud software available — as well as a team of risk, compliance, and security experts supporting customers across 100 countries — to bring all of your important activities into a single portfolio.

Reach your full potential with Resolver. Expand your insights. Make better decisions. Confidently meet and exceed your objectives.

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