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How Your Healthcare Security Program Can Benefit from a Third Party Perspective

byLowers & Associates | February 23, 2017

 

An effective and successful healthcare security program requires many different layers of support. Aside from program design, management, and daily staffing, there is also a strategic risk management layer to ensure your program’s direction addresses the most important security risks facing your organization.

With limited resources already stretched, many hospitals and healthcare institutions find value in having an external perspective, particularly when it comes to the functions demanding high levels of expertise and specialization. A fresh outlook can uncover hidden flaws in your program that otherwise may only be discovered in hindsight after a costly loss. Inviting a third party to help with a risk assessment, an audit, and/or various program implementations can create savings and allow you to focus in key areas so the entire program can remain healthy.

Risk Assessment

The first, and possibly the best, way to mitigate risk is by conducting an in-depth risk assessment. A thorough assessment can provide a deep understanding of the unique vulnerabilities, requirements, and deficiencies in your program. These findings can then be used to establish a baseline against which to measure effectiveness. With a strong baseline in place, policies and plans can be more strategically developed and managed.

Healthcare organizations have unique concerns for patients, visitors, and staff, which call for specialized approaches to managing risk. Healthcare regulations from the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPAA), the Joint Commission (TJC), issues of workplace violence, and active assailants are all major concerns in the healthcare environment. Those concerns all need to be assessed and integrated into a risk management plan.

Third-Party Audit

Audits performed by a qualified third party can provide objective and highly disciplined documentation processes to continually measure operational reality against stated policies and standards—providing a dynamic management tool. To make the most of this ongoing maintenance tool, with vigilance, a third party can offer objectivity and an additional layer of checks and balances against fraud.

Compliance

Compliance isn’t a one-time, “set-it-and-forget-it” initiative. Compliance requires consistent, disciplined, and diligent measurement, review, and comparison to stated policies and standards. In addition, as policies and regulations change, it is important to stay current and adjust policies and standards accordingly, within expected timeframes. If daily operations prevent your staff from taking all of the necessary steps to remain in compliance, it could be time to consider bringing in a third party to supplement with specialized, timely support.

Investigation Support

Even with strong compliance measures and a thorough audit, losses can still occur. How you respond can make the difference in keeping systems operating effectively, or losing control. Some level of losses can inform you of holes in your system, and end up fortifying your program if handled efficiently. Effective responses require staff with varied backgrounds and expertise, such as private investigation, forensics, law enforcement, and fraud examination. Looking to external support can relieve your team of needing to be everything, all the time. This can allow your daily focus to remain on your core capabilities, especially when time and precision are of the essence.

How we can help:

Lowers & Associates (L&A) understands the unique issues at the heart of healthcare security risk. Compliance issues, new and ever changing methods of patient care, and advanced clinical support infrastructures call for specialized knowledge and a unique approach to risk management. Our expertise and experience in the healthcare sector can provide a broad range of specific risk solutions. Our highly qualified team is dedicated to implementing risk, quality, compliance, and governance solutions that are specifically designed to meet the operational needs of healthcare organizations.

To discuss how an external perspective could be helpful for your program, contact a Lowers & Associates risk management consultant today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lowers & Associates

Lowers & Associates provides comprehensive enterprise risk management solutions to organizations operating in high-risk, highly-regulated environments and organizations that value risk mitigation.

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