7 Things to Know About Risk Management in the Healthcare Industry


The healthcare industry appears to be a preferential target for cybercriminals. And the cascading effects of these attacks have been massive. Right now, the healthcare industry is leading in losses as a result of data breaches.

As a player in this industry, you have to be worried. If you haven’t been a victim, it’s only a matter of time before you become a target of a ransomware attack. But you can mitigate this by integrating a management strategy into your processes.

Enterprise risk management is an obscure concept for most healthcare providers. It’s understandable because your area of specialty is different. These are the seven things you need to know about risk management in healthcare.

  1. Risk Management Starts With an Accurate Assessment of Device Risks

The assessment of risks requires both clinical and cybersecurity expertise. And you must base these assessments on the appropriate context to get the desired results. This necessitates that you identify the various risks your systems might face and their tolerance levels to these threats.

To do this, you’ll need to develop a robust risk management healthcare framework that’ll assist you in making nuanced determinations. These determinations are in the form of the identification and evaluation of the possible risks. From these, you can create a score that’ll help you rank the threats.

The framework has an extra advantage. It helps you to document the risks and their possible controls from your systems configurations.

  1. Vulnerabilities Management

Enterprise risk management for the healthcare industry is different from those of other organizations. The differences arise out of the fact that caregivers often connect IT devices to the patients. In most of the other industries, users don’t have to connect IT devices to their bodies to access services.

You must configure the health system in a way that it can differentiate between the assets that it hosts on its network. For instance, the system should know that it’s safe to scan a printer that you’ve connected to a PC. But it shouldn’t perform the same scan on an infusion pump that you’ve connected to a patient.

The differentiations are critical in managing vulnerabilities that arise out of risk management services. In the absence of these differentiation mechanisms, you won’t perform security patching on your system without a corresponding increase in the risk to care delivery.

  1. Develop Appropriate Mitigations

At this point, your healthcare risk management team has a deep insight into the system’s vulnerabilities. They’ve also set up the system so that it can differentiate the assets on its network. This step involves coming up with policies that will protect your system from attacks.

You have to pay attention to the mitigation policies that you’ll subject the system to. It’s prudent to choose strategies that will resolve more risks and limit the introduction of more latencies to the system. The strategies that you adopt should enhance the delivery of healthcare; not stifle it by inducing more constraints.

You’ll have to collaborate with the team to harmonize the interests of the security of the system with those of care delivery in a clinical environment. This will enable you and your team to develop mitigation measures that avert attack propagation without any interference to the facility’s operations.

  1. Engage in Healthy Clinical Cyber Hygiene Practices

Cyber-criminals are opportunistic individuals who thrive on laxity from their targets to attack them. Your system might have all the strategies that can prevent an attack when need be. But there is a need to review these strategies to seal any loopholes; nothing is perfect.

Additionally, third parties often connect their devices to healthcare systems via services such as telehealth. These parties are the gateways through which cyber-criminals use to infiltrate your systems. You have to re-assess, discover, manage, and seal these loopholes as part of the risk management practices.

This is a continuous process that can save your facilities a lot of money and time lost to ransomware attacks. You must convince the management of the facility to channel resources to this initiative. Most facilities ignore it because the benefits seem intangible, but the consequences can be dire.

  1. Protect All the Aspects of the System – From the Core to the Edge

The delivery of healthcare services continues to fragment and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. More facilities are offering outpatient services through telehealth medical services. This means that healthcare firms have invested in both inpatient and outpatient networks.

Securing assets on the outpatient network might seem less demanding than those of an inpatient network. Yet, note that an interconnected system is as good as its weakest link. So, there’s a need for you to secure all the components of the system with the same vigor for better protection.

  1. You Need to Operationalize Risk Management for it to be Effective

One of the risk management benefits is its contribution to your firm’s ROI. First, the initiative automates and rids your operations of outdated practices. Eliminating inefficiencies and enhancing workflows has a positive impact on your bottom line.

Second, risk management protects patients’ records from wanton theft. In doing so, the initiative protects you from negligence lawsuits and penalties from regulatory bodies. Such unforeseen expenses can be detrimental to your business’s cash flow.

  1. The Contingency Plan

Risk management in healthcare mitigates the threats, it doesn’t end them. The goal is to lower the probability of a risk materializing as much as possible.

But it happens that sometimes these risks materialize. This is despite the mitigation measures being in place.

That’s where the contingency plan kicks in. This plan will outline the steps that you’ll take if the risk occurs. So that you can shield your operations from the adverse effects.

A proper risk management plan must have this plan in its framework.

Protect Your Operations

Cyber-attacks have been on the rise in the healthcare industry of late. And the situation seems to be getting worse as the days go by. Criminals are targeting both small and large facilities so anyone can be a victim.

A risk management plan will assist you in identifying vulnerabilities in your system. You can then strengthen them on time. Get an expert to help you develop one.

Always remember that your input is valuable in designing the system. That will ensure it’s workable in your environment. Discover more articles like this by browsing through the website.