Regardless of the healthcare setting, an effective risk management program requires certain elementary building blocks. These include key structural elements, sufficient scope to cover all applicable categories of risks, appropriate risk strategies, and written policies and procedures. Developing a comprehensive risk management program depends on addressing specific considerations. For instance, in a health care organization, the risk management program includes an examination of the risks associated with patients, medical staff, visitors, and governing bodies. The risk management professional in a healthcare organization must maintain sufficient authority to enact the changes in clinical practice to fulfill the purposes of the risk program.
The first step for presenting a risk management program to new employees is education. The risk manager defines the risk management program and the scope of services that are provided. The difficulty of this task depends on the level of understanding, for example, about the history of the program in the health care organization (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004). Effective flow of communication, regarding the risk program, is a decent way to overcome any preexisting resistance. However, the instructors need to know that educating new employees requires effort. In this case, it may become necessary to provide educational programs and visual resources such as handouts. As a result, the new employees can currently add visibility and credibility to the risk management program. The main aspect of the presentation is to have relevant materials in consideration (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004). Otherwise, trying to educate new staff with such a program will be useless and may affect the willingness of the staff to attend future presentations.
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After the scope of the risk program is made clear to the new employees, the presenter allows them to ask questions and participate in discussions. This step ensures that there is cohesiveness in managing the risk program and to prevent situations that can interfere with accomplishing the purposes of the program (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004). The risk managers should be sure that the new employees have demonstrated their support for the risk management program. Then follows the step of selection and team members endorsement and formally delegating authority and responsibility to achieve the tasks of risk program (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004).
The risk managers should ensure that the scope of the risk management program complies with the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM). For one, the virtues of sufficient authority and respect are necessary to ensure a smooth transition in clinical practice, procedures, and behaviors of the employees (Carroll, 2009). The risk management team must deal with highly sensitive and confidential information that can influence the public image or the financial status of the organization. Besides, during the presentation, the risk management professional should coordinate risk management activities by responsibly involving other members of the medical staff (Carroll, 2009). Healthcare institutions must commit the necessary resources to risk management through a written policy. Moreover, facilities must have a system in place to identify, review and analyze unanticipated adverse outcomes.
Secondly, there is a wide range of risk management functions and a diversity of activities necessary for a successful presentation of the program. The healthcare organization should, therefore, establish both formal and informal mechanisms for coordinating the program with other departments and functions (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004). To adequately integrate and coordinate risk management with other functions is the need to establish reporting and communication relationships with key individuals within the organization. For instance, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may have multiple risk financing responsibilities and provide valuable information for the risk management program (Kavakr & Spiegel, 2004). In some presentations, the CFO is the primary purchaser of insurance covers and must, therefore, rely on information provided by the risk management professionals to make appropriate decisions.
Similar to other organizations, healthcare risk management professionals are witnessing a revolution in using Information Technology. Therefore, the risk management program is expected to be fundamentally transformed to improve the delivery of healthcare services (Carroll, 2009). Also, prescriptions will be entered into automated order systems with built-in protocols to check for errors and oversight. In other words, the adoption of IT in healthcare is viewed as a means to reduce waste and inefficiency in service provision (Carroll, 2009). In this case, therefore, the risk management program will help in improving the quality of healthcare and curbing preventable medical errors. Further, providing IT educational and training programs to medical staff will encourage and assist in adoption and interoperability.
Secondly, to assist healthcare organizations to be well- prepared for the benefits and risks of adopting information technology, the risk management professionals must become familiar with IT applications in a healthcare setting (Carroll, 2009). They must remain informed about the current and relevant federal and state laws, regulations, and accreditation standards because change is frequent in this area (Carroll, 2009). Artful risk managers will embrace and benefit from the new information technologies and applications. As a result, they will be able to help their organizations to set and maintain risk management programs that are easily governed to maximize their potential safety benefits and improve compliance with ASHRM.
There are administrative processes for managing the risk program. Firstly, Total quality management (TQM) is an administrative process that is used to stimulate continuous improvements in system delivery, based on active participation (Youngberg, 2010). All the employees are involved in the management of the risk program by monitoring performance, identifying the strengths and weaknesses, and evaluating innovations. Also, the administration carries out a surveillance process, which involves collecting health-related data and other conditions. The surveillance information is used for developing risk management programs (Youngberg, 2010). Moreover, the administration must ensure that there is workforce diversity within the healthcare organization. This process reflects the variation in population characteristics such as culture, religion, and age, and disability status. When a diverse team is involved in the management of a risk program, it becomes easier to integrate it with other functions and departments, thereby improving the utilization of healthcare resources (Youngberg, 2010).
Conclusively, developing a successful risk management program requires consideration of key structural elements. Moreover, some steps should be followed when presenting a risk management program to new employees. The risk managers should educate the employees to ensure that their understanding is in line with the scope of the program. When the employees understand the concepts through discussions, then team leaders are selected and given the responsibility to guide other members towards achieving the purposes of the risk program. Besides, the management should adopt information technology to revolutionize the tasks of risk programs in healthcare. Administrative processes, such as total quality management, are necessary to ensure continuous improvement of the risk management program.