It’s not exactly a secret: Regardless of size or industry, every organization stands to benefit from using automation technology to cut down on repetitive, time-consuming administrative tasks. More than simply speeding up a process or getting people to work faster, automating administrative tasks yields value by freeing up employees to focus on the aspects of their job that really matter and provide value.
Automation is wonderful. Except when it isn’t.
As covered in Behind the Hype of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), businesses can run into issues by rushing to reduce costs and improve productivity through automating processes without first evaluating their effectiveness and necessity. The benefits of automating repeatable, administrative tasks can also be lost if automation technology is too difficult to use. The result? Time that could be used performing more high-value activities winds up spent managing software.
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Data Breach Today offers predictions in What’s Ahead for Health Data Privacy, Security in 2019? While the article focuses primarily on health data, a few key trends apply more broadly and are likely to resonate with all types of organizations.
Prediction: Disruption from regulatory changes is likely
Rebecca Herold, author of 19 books on information security and CEO of The Privacy Professor consultancy, begins the list of predictions by examining the potential for agency updates to HIPAA. “Based on continued pressure from local, state and federal government agencies, law enforcement, researchers and others to ease the sharing of patient and mental health data by removing the need to obtain patient consent, I expect to see OCR issue proposed HIPAA updates,” she notes.
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For risk and safety professionals, the new calendar year brings with it a renewed focus on improving their organization’s culture of safety. Whether looking to put a new safety program in place, make wholesale changes to an existing program, or build upon previous successes, many organizations face the challenge of ensuring that their employees are fully participating in safety efforts.
A recent EHS Today article takes a look at a potential solution for involving people across an organization in this process: safety assessments.
How safety assessments differ from safety audits
To Build Safety Culture, You Must Get People Talking provides an overview of a 2018 Safety Leadership Conference session — “Distracted Drivers R US — Assessment RX for Success” — led by Walter Fluharty, vice president of EHS and organizational development at Ohio-based Simon Roofing.
Where static surveys may be seen as yet another safety-related requirement, focus group-based assessments followed by the completion of self-assessments are more likely to drive engagement and add value.
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Origami Risk’s 2018 User Conference, held last week, utilized a new format that not only placed a premium on client presentation of use cases, but also focused on digging into “how” presenters managed to implement their specific solutions. Listening to a diverse set of cases, several common trends emerged.
1. Transparency is key
Many of those presenting echoed the need to establish transparency and accountability in their processes. You can’t measure what you can’t see, and you can’t improve what you don’t measure. The most obvious culprits were paper-based procedures—everything from workplace safety “coaching cards,” to incident intake reports. Spreadsheet-centric workflows, such as data-heavy values collection efforts, also failed to identify the “who, what, when, and where” type of information required to make any process fully transparent.
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The importance of establishing a near miss culture is clear. The OSHA and National Safety Council Alliance, a cooperative program, puts it this way: “History has shown repeatedly that most loss producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near miss incidents. Recognizing and reporting near miss incidents can significantly improve worker safety and enhance an organization’s safety culture.” Effective near miss programs can prevent more serious incidents from occurring.
A previous post highlights some of the challenges surrounding this issue. Fear of reprisal or embarrassment, difficulty in the reporting process, and a sense of futility if reports don’t result in tangible changes. Each challenge presents obstacles when trying to establish a near miss culture.
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The pressure to do more with less is constant. But delaying an honest evaluation of your risk management information system (RMIS), while an understandable temptation, can lead to compressed timelines, rushed decisions, cost overruns, and additional grey hair.
Industry consolidation is forcing changes both good and bad. Regardless of whether you elect to stay with your current system or make a move, the worst-case scenario is to find yourself boxed in because you ran out of time.
There are a few critical factors a risk manager should take into account to ensure they are in the driver’s seat. Your time is limited, but your options don’t have to be.
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A flexible, intuitive interface. Software expertise combined with insurance and risk experience. A collaborative approach to implementation that’s different by design. When selecting a Risk Management Information System (RMIS) that meets your needs, each of these elements is important, but in today’s market, these are baseline requirements. The critical factor influencing the choice of a system should be the answer to the following question: Will this technology drive meaningful business results?
Measurable outcomes are what really matter. The right RMIS must prove capable of contributing to your team’s ability to more efficiently analyze risk and insurance data, prevent losses, control claim costs, streamline renewals, and reduce your organization’s total cost of risk. If it cannot, what’s the point?
For some examples of the impact that partnering with Origami Risk has had on the business results of a few of our clients, please read on.
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“Suppose each time you ran low on an item in your kitchen—olive oil, bananas, napkins—your instinctive response was to drop everything and race to the store. How much time would you lose? How much money would you squander on gas? What would happen to your productivity?”
That’s the hypothetical scenario that Ron Friedman, a psychologist and author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, introduces in a Harvard Business Review article examining the “cognitive price” of interrupting a task that requires dedicated focus.
“We all recognize the inefficiency of this approach,” writes Friedman. “And yet surprisingly, we often work in ways that are equally wasteful.” … read more
A recently published, comprehensive workers’ compensation benchmarking study, found that claim costs make up around 80 percent of most claims organizations’ expenses. According to the study’s authors, budget reductions and heightened scrutiny of operational expenses that come as a result mean that claims organizations should “take a close look at what claim activities and best practices drive optimal outcomes.”
Ensuring that paper-intensive, inefficient, and error-prone processes are eliminated is critical. For many claims organizations, this means scrutinizing their workers’ compensation compliance and reporting processes. More specifically, it means finding a solution that reduces the amount of time adjusters spend:
- Tracking down the correct version of state forms
- Rekeying data previously entered in the claims management system into forms
- Correcting errors that result from manual entry of claim details
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TPAs continue to face increasing pressure to find more innovative ways to drive efficiency and do more with less. An article in Lexology states, “Automated claim processing is the future for insurance carriers, third-party administrators (TPA’s) and large employers, to improve efficiency and reduce the resources required to process claims.” Determining a strategy for automating claims handling can be challenging.
A recent post examined the ways top performers approached automation. One key benchmark study of differentiators recommended: “Employ claims decision support tools – such as workflow automation, advanced analytics, and predictive modeling – and use them more frequently throughout the claim lifecycle.” In fact, top performers are 4X more likely to use automation throughout the cycle than all others.
To achieve the results similar to those of top producers, a comprehensive approach to improvements through technology must be employed. … read more