Risk management encompasses the identification, analysis, and response to risk factors that form part of the life of a business. Effective risk management means attempting to control, as much as possible, future outcomes by acting proactively rather than reactively. Therefore, effective risk management offers the potential to reduce both the possibility of a risk occurring and its potential impact.
Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization’s capital and earnings. These threats, or risks, could stem from a wide variety of sources, including financial uncertainty, legal liabilities, strategic management errors, accidents and natural disasters. IT security threats and data-related risks, and the risk management strategies to alleviate them, have become a top priority for digitized companies. As a result, a risk management plan increasingly includes companies’ processes for identifying and controlling threats to its digital assets, including proprietary corporate data, a customer’s personally identifiable information (PII) and intellectual property.
Every business and organization faces the risk of unexpected, harmful events that can cost the company money or cause it to permanently close. Risk management allows organizations to attempt to prepare for the unexpected by minimizing risks and extra costs before they happen.
By implementing a risk management plan and considering the various potential risks or events before they occur, an organization can save money and protect their future. This is because a robust risk management plan will help a company establish procedures to avoid potential threats, minimize their impact should they occur and cope with the results. This ability to understand and control risk enables organizations to be more confident in their business decisions. Furthermore, strong corporate governance principles that focus specifically on risk management can help a company reach their goals.
Other important benefits of risk management include:
The importance of combining risk management with patient safety has also been revealed. In most hospitals and organizations, the risk management and patient safety departments are separated; they incorporate different leadership, goals and scope. However, some hospitals are recognizing that the ability to provide safe, high-quality patient care is necessary to the protection of financial assets and, as a result, should be incorporated with risk management.
In 2006, the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington integrated their risk management functions into their patient safety department, ultimately creating the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) management methods. VMPS focuses on continuously improving the patient safety system by increasing transparency in risk mitigation, disclosure and reporting. Since implementing this new system, Virginia Mason has experienced a significant reduction in hospital professional premiums and a large increase in the reporting culture.
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