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The Importance of GRC as a Risk Initiative: Q&A with Mary Upshaw

Origami Risk has expanded its operations in the UK, Europe, and Middle East due to rapid growth in the region. Mary Upshaw, Head of Professional Service – EMEA at Origami, discusses the current risk landscape, expected trends, and the role technology plays in an effective GRC programme.

From the perspective of a client executive who is working very closely with UK and EMEA-based organisations, what are the most pressing issues risk managers face in regards to GRC?

There are a few that come to mind. The first is dealing with regulatory change. How do organisations stay on top of risk associated with regulatory compliance when the landscape is constantly changing, the jurisdictions that companies reside in are growing, and laws around privacy are growing?

The second is getting different groups and departments within an organisation to work together toward a shared GRC approach. For example, there might be an internal controls team that rolls up through the CFO; an enterprise risk management (ERM) team that works for the CRO; a business continuity management (BCM) unit that flows through a CTO; and a compliance group that reports to the general counsel’s office. Risk managers need to set a tone that conveys that all of these groups must work together in order to reap the benefits of GRC.

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The power of portals: How public entities are improving reporting and delivering next-level services

Female worker in front of van with mobile device

Failure to report incidents and safety hazards can have wide-ranging ramifications, impacting employees and their families, public agencies, and the community as a whole. Making work, and workplaces, safer requires the cooperation of everyone—staff, employees, and citizens.

User-friendly and easily accessible tools such as custom risk portals and mobile forms can streamline any project that requires the capture of data—from exposure values and certificates of insurance (COI) details to driver certification information and more. Made available to employees and members of the public for the reporting of incidents, hazards, and near misses, portals and mobile forms help simplify and standardize what is often an arduous and inefficient process. This not only makes reporting these types of events more likely, but also for a more efficient and accurate reporting process.

Making it easier for employees and members of the public to report accidents, damage, and potential hazards has numerous benefits. Among them, a reduction in administrative overhead and decreased lags in reporting, as well as improved transparency and trust. Perhaps most importantly, access to this data can help risk managers and safety professionals identify trends and take proactive, strategic action to reduce future losses or eliminate them altogether.

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Create a High-Reliability Hospital with Healthcare Risk Management Software

Hospitals and healthcare systems looking to prioritize patient and employee safety often phrase their initiative as a way to reduce adverse events. The word “reduce” implies that the number of adverse events can be lowered but not eliminated entirely. It implies that some adverse events are simply unavoidable.

But what if organizations changed their mindset? What if the end goal was, in fact, to eliminate adverse events? A hospital without patient safety events may seem like an impossibility, but as more and more organizations are learning, zero harm doesn’t have to be a miracle scenario.

“Many hospitals are embracing the values of high-reliability organizations and occupations like air traffic control towers, nuclear power plants, wildlife fire fighters and astronauts,” states the article 5 Traits of High Reliability Organizations: How to Hardwire Each in Your Organization. “The paradigm works remarkably well in the promotion of patient safety and efficient healthcare delivery.”

High reliability organizations are organizations that operate in complex, high-hazard domains for extended periods without serious accidents or catastrophic failures…High reliability organizations cultivate resilience by relentlessly prioritizing safety over other performance pressures. – Patient Safety Network’s Patient Safety Primer

Where to Start

According to Anne Marie Benedicto, vice president of the Joint Commission Center for Transformation Healthcare, although hospital and healthcare staff may desire to become a high-reliability organization, they often don’t know how to begin. “Transforming to high reliability is a multiyear process,” she said in a Q&A with Becker’s Hospital Review. “And it is probably the biggest change initiative any healthcare organization can undertake right now.”

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ERM Done Differently

Those in the risk management field have heard plenty about the benefits of establishing an enterprise risk management (ERM) program. In some cases, they’ve likely heard too much. Lost in debates about frameworks or which acronym to employ (ERM vs. IRM vs. GRC) is the answer to the question, “How do I actually establish an ERM program that produces tangible, measurable results?”

An ERM program doesn’t have to be overly complicated. (Really!) Neither does it have to be an academic exercise that takes you away from critical daily tasks. When ERM is done right, it’s tied directly to your organization’s central strategic goal and consists of clearly laid-out, doable steps.

You can launch a manageable and sustainable ERM program. You can get everyone on board with the process. You can find success without losing your mind.

You can do ERM differently.

Focus on execution

ERM isn’t a magical, all-knowing tool into which issues are input and solutions spit out. ERM is a considered process that forces you to ask the right questions—questions that lead to the right preventative measures. So when embarking on the creation of an ERM program, your focus should be on execution: What actions am I not taking today that I should be taking in order to get out in front of risks?
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Don’t Miss the Digital Transformation

Heracleitus says, you know, that all things move and nothing remains still, and he likens the universe to the current of a river, saying that you cannot step twice into the same stream. — Plato, Cratylus

Regardless of industry or company size, an evolving risk environment necessitates an approach to managing risk that is both strategic and dynamic. In order to successfully implement a risk management program that accounts for this reality, you’ll need the right risk management technology—and the appropriate level of support behind it.

Is your RMIS capable of keeping up?

Platform flexibility allows organizations to tailor workflows that adapt to changes in risk and safety processes, rather than the other way around. And although it’s not uncommon to have concerns about changing systems, the move to a more configurable RMIS typically contributes to significant leaps forward in data collection, analysis, compliance, and day-to-day efficiency.

A case study featuring DHL, the world’s leading postal and logistics company, details the benefits that can come from making a switch to a more configurable RMIS. Following a change to Origami Risk from the legacy system previously used to centralize its loss and risk information, DHL saw rapid improvements in accident reporting, the handling of claims data, policy management, and document management. The DHL risk management team was also able to take advantage of Origami’s flexibility to set up an integration with daily video feeds from delivery vehicle dash-cams.

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Are you and your RMIS ready for change?

Heracleitus says, you know, that all things move and nothing remains still, and he likens the universe to the current of a river, saying that you cannot step twice into the same stream. — Plato, Cratylus

Regardless of industry or company size, an evolving risk environment necessitates an approach to managing risk that is both strategic and dynamic. In order to successfully implement a risk management program that accounts for this reality, you’ll need the right risk management technology—and the appropriate level of support behind it.

Is your RMIS capable of keeping up?

Platform flexibility allows organizations to tailor workflows that adapt to changes in risk and safety processes, rather than the other way around. And although it’s not uncommon to have concerns about changing systems, the move to a more configurable RMIS typically contributes to significant leaps forward in data collection, analysis, compliance, and day-to-day efficiency.

A case study featuring DHL, the world’s leading postal and logistics company, details the benefits that can come from making a switch to a more configurable RMIS. Following a change to Origami Risk from the legacy system previously used to centralize its loss and risk information, DHL saw rapid improvements in accident reporting, the handling of claims data, policy management, and document management. The DHL risk management team was also able to take advantage of Origami’s flexibility to set up an integration with daily video feeds from delivery vehicle dash-cams.

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4 Areas of Focus for Improving the Patient Experience

In an age where customer experience reigns supreme, the healthcare industry is beginning to view processes and outcomes through a similar lens. Hospitals and healthcare systems are businesses. Patients are customers. And customers must have a positive experience in order to continue using the services of a business. Patient experience is a term often applied broadly to initiatives such as reducing hospital stay length and readmission rates, cutting down incidences of patient safety events, and ensuring patients feel seen and heard.

In an effort to get a hold of this new way of thinking, hospitals are adding patient experience leaders to their staff and also considering the myriad sources that impact the patient experience. Risk managers and patient safety professionals have a unique opportunity to champion patient experience efforts for their organizations. Here are four areas of focus for improving the patient experience with the help of risk management best practices.

1. Get the whole organization involved and invested

With a far-reaching goal like improving patient experience, healthcare organizations will see greater success when they establish a targeted strategy and communicate that strategy clearly across all departments. In many cases, it may make sense to establish an enterprise risk management (ERM) program to make headway. As mentioned in GRC: Where to start? Productive healthcare ERM tools, “Healthcare ERM establishes a standardized framework for identifying risk across an organization, encourages cross-departmental collaboration, and shifts hospitals from a reactive clinical risk program to a proactive holistic risk management program.”

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How to get leadership buy-in for ERM

Before organizations can begin implementing an enterprise risk management (ERM) program, they must get buy-in from leadership. But in order for leadership to feel comfortable buying into a program, they must have sufficient evidence that it will make a difference for the organization’s overall goals.

There’s a solution to this catch-22. By having the right conversations and showing results from smaller-scale initiatives, organizations can demonstrate the value of an ERM program to leadership—and do so without the same time, effort, and resources required for a full-scale ERM operation.

Start the old-fashioned way

The right technology can be instrumental in demonstrating ERM program successes. However, before using technology to prove the benefits of an ERM program, risk managers can begin influencing leadership through small, in-person conversations.

“One of the biggest buy-in methods for a successful strategy is talk,” writes Darius Delon, AVP of risk services for Mount Royal University, in the article Putting Strategy into Risk Management. “One person at a time, one hour at a time, one advocate at a time. People will not buy-in to ERM just because they read something you put in front of them or heard at a large forum. Talk to them, work with them, get small wins…”

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TPAs and automation, part 2: Attracting and retaining talent

In TPAs and automation, part 1: Humanizing customer service, we looked at ways in which the use of features available in integrated claims management software—automation tools, push-reporting, and online portals—can help improve the level of service provided to clients and claimants. The automation and self-service features of a claims management software solution also have roles to play in another business-critical area for TPAs and organizations self-administering claims: recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.

Challenges to hiring and keeping qualified claims professionals

As is the case across most industries, a combination of baby boomers reaching retirement age and a strong economy continues to make it difficult for businesses in the property/casualty insurance industry to find qualified candidates. According to the Insurance Journal article Insurance Industry Facing Competitive Labor Market, the industry’s unemployment rate of 1.7% is even lower than the reported national average of 3.9%. Even so, the article points to the fact that, as of its April 2019 publication date, the “need for technology, claims and sales/marketing staff is expected to grow the greatest in the next 12 months.”

Beyond the challenge of finding qualified candidates to fill open claims department positions is the issue of employee retention. A 2018 CompData Survey shows that total turnover among organizations in the insurance industry stood at 12.8%. Although lower than the average for all industries (19.3%), this rate has trended upward in recent years.

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So bad you’ll never leave? 4 reasons for making a RMIS switch

In “Bad Decision Family,” a classic sketch from the 16th season of Saturday Night Live, guest host Tom Hanks, playing the father of the family, joins his wife (Jan Hooks) and children (Julia Sweeney, Mike Myers) at the kitchen table for “leftover night.” Hanks has just retrieved milk from the refrigerator. Upon taking a seat, he drinks directly from the carton. “Oh! Oh, geez!” he cries out in disgust. “How old is that milk? It is really bad!” Hooks asks to see for herself, and reacts similarly after taking a sip. To a mixture of laughter and moans from the live audience, Sweeney and Myers eagerly follow suit. As the sketch continues, each member of the family takes turns joining in on bad decision after bad decision: sniffing a plate of bad fish, sitting on a sharp nail, and testing out a broken staircase to the basement, to name just a few.

The sketch works because it illustrates our tendency as human beings to willingly opt-in for experiences that are guaranteed to be less than optimal. This phenomenon holds true when it comes to the performance of risk management information system (RMIS) software and support.

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