To Navigate Unprecedented Crises, Health Systems Need a New Approach to Risk

December 2, 2020 Dr. Tim McDonald, Chief Patient Safety & Risk Officer and Inge Garrison, Chief Clinical Officer, RLDatix

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed cracks in the foundation of our healthcare system: clinicians who were overworked before are on the brink of breakdown, patients are afraid to visit facilities out of fear of contracting COVID-19, and health systems that depend on non-emergency procedures for most of their revenue are facing steep budget shortfalls. As a result, health systems are facing some hard decisions on how to best focus time and resources to maintain safety, quality and their bottom lines 

This moment in healthcare presents an unprecedented and often overwhelming challenge, but it is also an opportunity to do things better than ever before -- particularly when it comes to patient and caregiver safety. The recent combination of RLDatix, the leading global provider of intelligent patient safety solutions, with Verge Health, the recognized best-in-class credentialing software provider, allows organizations to re-envision the way they've historically tackled these complex safety and quality concerns.   

This acquisition joins two of the most recognized leaders in Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in the healthcare market, and will dramatically accelerate an essential shift in healthcare from a reactive approach to risk management to one anchored in quality, safety and prevention. RLDatix is the only provider that partners with healthcare delivery organizations globally to offer a comprehensive view of risk through a safety-first lens.  

Healthcare is famous for collecting significant amounts of data, but often its utilization leaves much to be desired. Far too frequently, healthcare decision makers do nohave the tools and data to connect the dots to drive strategy and initiatives. This is primarily due to the troves of numbers from disparate data sources. RLDatix allows health system executives to see risk and compliance issues across the enterprise, breaking down division and departmental silos to create a complete picture of operations. 

Taking a 30,000-foot view of safety requires more than  technology: it demands  systemic and cultural changesRLDatix helps organizations make those changes, improving quality of care, minimizing claims, reducing physician and staff burnout, and improving staff engagementthe building blocks for achieving  sustainable harm reduction. These actions, in conjunction wittransparency, ultimately help build trust. RLDatix shows healthcare professionals how to earn trust though the Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) framework, which encourages open, honest, and clear communication that leads to deep, meaningful relationships with patients and their family members as they cope with the mental and emotional impact of a safety event. Additionally, CANDOR focuses on providing care for the caregiver through emotional first aid when an unexpected or traumatic event occurs. This approach creates cultures of understanding and empathy because care team members understand that the hospital or health system cares for them and their work, and that they stand behind them.  

Health systems will continue to face pressures due to these cracks being uncovered even after a vaccine for COVID-19 is developedFor example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this year renewed The Joint Commission’s (TJC) deemed status as a national accreditation organization for two years rather than the maximum six, a decision that will have repercussions for years given that TJC offers accreditation to 80 percent of the nation’s hospitals.  

The pressure applied to TJC will be passed on to health systems through rigorous surveysand they will be tasked to do more to reduce preventable harm and the cost of careAs a result, organizations that seek accreditation will be expected to have further principledintegrated and systematic approaches to achieve these goals, and RLDatix is the ideal partner to provide health systems with personalized recommendations for how to address their unique risks and foster a culture of zero harm.  

The health systems that are most successful at closing these exposed cracks will be the ones that can look ahead to tomorrow. To accomplish this, they will need to have a comprehensive look at their risks, which includes doing a deep dive on  adverse events in a way that allows them to truly understand the contributory causes. This also includes examining all of their professionals, their provider competencies, and their provider training, to ensure the level of care designed to prevent harm is delivered to every patient, every day 

To constantly mitigate risk and drive safety initiatives, health systems must challenge how they intervene and put processes in place to prevent adverse events and unsafe conditions. The first step to address that challenge is a conversation with RLDatix. We’re always here to help, because zero preventable harm for patients and caring for caregivers are our goals too. 

Dr. Tim McDonald is Chief Patient Safety and Risk Officer at RLDatix. 

Inge Garrison RN, is Chief Clinical Officer at RLDatix. 

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