PeraHealth Insights

Integrating Your Risk Management Strategy to Improve Care and Reduce Sentinel Events

Risk ManagementIntegrating Your Risk Management Strategy to Improve Care and Reduce Sentinel Events: Q&A with Physician Entrepreneur, Dr. Russ Richmond

PeraHealth Board member Dr. Russ Richmond is a physician and entrepreneur with experience building healthcare companies and counseling CEOs. He is currently the CEO of Laudio, a company helping managers recognize and support staff based on their individual needs to build a high performing, engaged team.

Q. What are the biggest challenges risk managers face today?

A. Risk managers play a unique role in the health system. They sit at the intersection of employee and patient safety, liability, and the health system’s reputation. The core of their work is implementing programs to avert risk and manage a robust reporting program when events occur. One of the biggest challenges risk managers face is to proactively identify events that could result in patient, employee, and/or visitor harm and, just as important, put processes in place to prevent those events from occurring. A common refrain from managers when it comes to proactively averting harm is the challenge of synthesizing multiple sources of information that allow them to more clearly understand the risk profile of their organizations. For event reporting, risk managers spend significant time integrating data from disparate sources. We also hear risk managers often feel they are “in the dark” about clinical events that could impact patient harm, particularly those that are related to patient deterioration. As scrutiny of health systems continues to increase and regulatory factors continue to grow, having easy access to integrated data is of critical importance.

Q. How can the Rothman Index benefit risk managers and health systems?

A. PeraHealth solutions, powered the Rothman Index (RI), provide real time, house wide clinical surveillance by automatically extracting hundreds of data elements from the electronic health record (EHR) and generating a continuous, visual representation of patient condition, trended over time. For risk managers, PeraHealth provides a visual representation of patient condition that allows them to quickly orient to patient status across the house. This unprecedented clinical insight holds true regardless of the patient’s disease or the patient’s location in the hospital. Risk managers use this real time information to focus attention on high risk patients, supporting clinicians and ensuring they take early and appropriate action. Just as important, risk managers use the RI to partner closely with clinicians to create protocols that minimize risk of patient decline.

Hospitals deploying PeraHealth clinical surveillance solutions are observing outcomes that optimize patient management, reduce treatment delays, and improve patient safety. For example, we have documented proven reductions in overall mortality, earlier identification of sepsis, as well as reductions in mortality and cost associated with sepsis.

In addition to proactive identification of patient deterioration, risk managers use PeraAnalytics for real-time and retrospective analysis of cases that require additional analysis and reporting. Visual RI data allows risk managers to swiftly orient to discover when a patient began to decline and that patient’s subsequent “clinical story,” greatly streamlining the data information gathering process.

Q. As a physician, do you have any personal risk management experiences or advice to relate from your time providing care?

A. The most important thing to do is to get “upstream” of this risk, meaning that the best risk managers look for opportunities to predict and mitigate future risk, rather than just reacting to it when it happens.

Q. If I’m running a captive, how should I be thinking economically and strategically about risk management?

A. Executives running captives have a challenging role. On one hand, they are insurance providers, and own execution of a sound approach to managing claims. On the other hand, they are health system employees, and in that role, they need to have a basic understanding of the clinical enterprise and how care is provided. The clinical enterprise is where there is an opportunity to make investments around risk prevention that are specifically oriented to avoid downstream claims. This is a tremendous advantage over say a private insurance carrier that has no relationship with the health system. There are a wide variety of opportunities to make these investments, but the most exciting ones today involve real-time prediction, fully-integrated EHR data and clinical workflows.

Q. How can risk managers learn more?

A. I encourage anyone in a risk management role to register for PeraHealth’s special report risk management webinar, “Reducing Insurance Costs and Patient Risk: Leveraging the Rothman Index as an Integrated Risk Management Strategy,” on July 25, 2018 at 1 p.m. ET. The PeraHealth Strategic Initiatives team will share results of a six-month research project evaluating integration of the RI into a comprehensive risk management strategy, including how the RI can help dramatically improve patient safety, reduce care variation and reduce sentinel events, as well as facilitate retrospective review of key cases and reduce the number and costs of liability claims.