The healthcare sector has always been under immense pressure. From pandemics to violence in hospitals, cyber-attacks and healthcare-acquired infections, the industry faces several ongoing risks and challenges that won’t let up.
When you factor in the daily demands that healthcare organizations face in their goal to provide quality patient care, it’s clear to see that many hurdles disrupt facility operations and put patient and employee safety at risk.
The following are some of the top critical healthcare risks that hospitals and other organizations face today.
Cyber attacks are increasingly becoming a significant challenge for health care organizations around the world. The industry continuously changes as new technologies are introduced and implemented in inpatient care and everyday routines. As a result, cyber threats continue to change and adapt to these updates. Primary concerns stem from electronic records of personally identifiable information.
Healthcare professionals need to be wary of cyber attacks that could threaten critical operations, including removing access to locked doors or shutting down patient systems. As history has proven, some cybercriminals will hold critical functions for ransom, steal data quietly, and cause destruction.
Having updated software and teaming it with healthcare risk management coverage can limit exposure to cyber threats and the damage they can cause.
Physical threats are on the rise, and facilities in the industry are not immune to them. For example, shootings, stabbings, and sexual harassment are risks that these professionals face regularly.
Not only does an inadequate physical security defense leave employees, such as nurses, watchers, and doctors, vulnerable, but other patients are also at risk. Easy initial steps help ensure access controls, such as requiring patients to be buzzed past reception, requiring special access to specific floors and rooms, and proper security at entrances and exits help limit exposure to these risks.
Managing all users and data is a significant hurdle that not every health care organization is prepared to adapt to, mostly because they lack the resources to implement such a change. Many organizations are set up to share workstations to input patient notes quickly using a general password. Organizations should provide patient data online while protecting the information with the utmost security.
In response, many organizations are moving to role-based access and reviewing access rights regularly. This and logging information ensure employees don’t access patient data that they don’t need to see to get their job done correctly. Moving to multi-factor authentication is gaining steam in the industry and is helping to ensure personal information stays protected.
It’s not hard to imagine that one of the biggest risks of health care facilities is spreadable illnesses and germs, especially in the age of COVID-19. Affecting both staff and patients, unnecessary exposure to bacteria or viruses can completely challenge daily operations.
Company policy and adequate training are crucial to ensure that illnesses and viruses aren’t spread to inpatients and health care professionals. Simple steps like washing hands after treating every patient have been recommended since the middle of the 19th century and are now required as it cuts down on transferring germs.
About Highland Risk
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.