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Integrated Risk Management: The Case for a Single Platform

By Bill Schwacke


For healthcare risk management leaders, data is a key factor in supporting systematic decisions. From patient & employee safety, quality metrics to claims reporting and workers’ compensation cases, the data you collect and analyze drives your entire risk mitigation strategy. However, that data is often siloed across multiple systems, making it difficult to get a unified view of your organization’s true risk exposure.

Most healthcare systems have separate systems for claims management, patient safety, incident reporting, employee injury/workers’ comp, compliance tracking, etc. While point solutions have historically provided short-term benefits, they create major inefficiencies and blind spots.

Technical debt, with its productivity drains of unplanned downtime or disruptions, multiple training protocols, and data entry processes across various systems are common challenges. The impact of multiple systems on total cost of risk (TCOR), system efficiencies, operational efficiencies, and crisis management is significant. But the true costs of fragmented risk management systems go far deeper, to the core of how an organization’s risks are identified, investigated, and mitigated.


The Costs of Operating in Silos

Risks are not contained in well-defined, segregated silos. An adverse event that begins with a patient fall could easily trigger a costly medical malpractice claim while also involving employee injury and compliance violation. These types of cascading, multi-domain incidents are common across healthcare organizations.

With fragmented systems in place, connecting related data points and quickly investigating the widespread root causes becomes exponentially more difficult. Critical data resides in separate, walled-off systems. This impacts risk management teams’ ability to analyze risk exposures and effectively allocate resources.

Even worse, productivity drains and detached data flows directly contribute to longer case lifecycles, missed deadlines, and inflated costs. Costly claims and lawsuits linger unresolved. Patients and employees don’t receive the rapid response and care they deserve.

These disparate systems become active drivers of risk within your organization. No matter how sophisticated individual solutions may be, fragmented data and processes will limit your risk mitigation capabilities.


An Integrated Approach: Further Demystifying the ROI

An integrated risk management platform that combines claims, patient & employee safety, compliance, and other risk data into a “single source of truth” delivers value by providing a line of sight into systemic, interconnected risks that might otherwise remain unseen.

This can allow proactive interventions that reduce costs. A centralized system and streamlined processes accelerate case lifecycles and response times. Incidents get triaged sooner, investigations proceed swiftly with comprehensive data, and actions are triggered immediately based on codified best practices.

But what else factors into the ROI equation? With an integrated risk management platform, ROI also comes into focus across three other key areas:

  1. Productivity gains. With all risk data streams flowing into a centralized system, risk professionals can operate faster and more effectively. No more use of separate logins and reporting tools. All claims, patient safety, employee safety, compliance, and risk data is accessible and can be used to drive rules-based workflow automation.
  2. Lower training costs. With a unified platform, training and enablement programs for staff can be streamlined rather than having duplicative efforts across multiple, siloed systems. This reduces operational costs associated with ongoing training.
  3. Reduced technical debt. Technical debt is an issue for most organizations, whether they’re aware of it or not. “’Technical debt is one of those invisible issues that people either know they have a problem with, or they don’t know, and that’s worse,’” explains Roger Williams, vice president of research at Gartner, in The Invisible $1.52 Trillion Problem: Clunky Old Software. “’It happens because it’s cheaper and easier to put things off for tomorrow, just like anything we have at home.'” An integrated platform helps organizations avoid accumulating more technical debt by eliminating maintenance of siloed, fragmented systems.

Every organization’s ROI story will differ based on unique needs and starting points. The common thread tends to be cost savings from productivity gains, reduced training overhead, minimizing technical debt, and a positive impact on TCOR.


The Path Forward

An integrated risk management platform empowers teams with access to data from across all risk domains. Features including automated notifications and role-specific dashboards can help accelerate response times, prioritize focus areas, and drive proactive intervention in ways that aren’t possible with fragmented systems.

For organizations truly committed to sustainable risk management and optimized care delivery, an integrated risk management platform is an operational necessity rather than a nice-to-have. The cost benefits and ROI potential make this an initiative well worth prioritizing in the months and years ahead.


Bill Schwacke is the Healthcare Practice Lead at Origami Risk