The current healthcare landscape is arguably the most difficult it’s ever been, partly triggered by the recent pandemic. But COVID-19 isn’t the only reason why healthcare organizations are being put to the test. Healthcare staff fatigue, massive infection control efforts, and the successful implementation of telehealth are just a few hurdles that can disrupt a facility’s operations, patients, and employees.
Healthcare leadership must manage these critical risks and abate their impacts so they aren’t felt throughout the rest of their organizations, especially within skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care centers that care for more vulnerable patient populations.
Below are some of the top risks facing healthcare executives, and what they must do to ensure these risks don’t become futile for their facilities.
It’s not hard to imagine that one of the most constant risks facing healthcare facilities is infections and spreadable illnesses. Something as seemingly harmless as the common cold to a disease as severe as COVID-19 can have dangerous repercussions for your staff and the patients you are working to keep safe. Residents in SNFs and other long-term care centers are even more susceptible to the spread of illness as a result of their communal nature, so healthcare executives must do everything they can to enhance their infection control measures.
This is where staff training and company initiatives are fundamental. One study concerning correct hygiene practices found that only 20 percent of the nursing staff had complete knowledge about the subject. Evaluating current infection control protocols, educating staff on necessary hygiene measures, and constantly testing employees and patients for illness is essential to cultivating a safer environment for all.
The healthcare industry is one sector that is always evolving as new technologies are developed to support better patient care and facility management. Cybercriminals know that this can be a pain point for many organizations, so healthcare facilities become all the more vulnerable to cyber threats.
Healthcare leadership must have security measures top-of-mind because attacks could threaten imperative operations. Cybercriminals are masterminds at stealing patient information for ransom, shutting down critical functions, and causing destruction. This doesn’t only endanger your patients, but it can also result in expensive legal fees and a damaged reputation. All facilities must have incident response plans and training in place in case a cyberattack were to happen.
The healthcare regulatory landscape is more complex than ever before, which puts healthcare organizations at greater risk of non-compliance. Leadership and healthcare staff must understand all regulations and laws that apply to their specific facilities, like billing, HIPAA, and patient needs. Not only this, but centers must also comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations that extend beyond their day-to-day healthcare policies. Any non-compliance can have very serious consequences on your operations.
The expansion of telehealth capabilities is a necessary solution to current healthcare shortfalls, but, if not implemented and monitored correctly, it can quickly result in issues that become more difficult to resolve if not addressed immediately. If, for example, healthcare staff doesn’t have the proper training and credentials, it could result in allegations of negligence. Remote care offers so many benefits to healthcare staff and patients, but it also demands skills and oversight that are completely unique to the current healthcare environment. This is another instance where training and updated policies are critical to successful implementation.
Risk awareness and prevention are an essential part of any healthcare facility’s operations — and even more importantly, it’s how facilities are able to offer better care to their patients.