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Perhaps no industry faces risks as complex as healthcare. Like any other sector, healthcare organizations face traditional business risks including property, general liability, employment practices, workers’ compensation and cyber breach exposures, among others.

But all of those risks are amplified by healthcare’s primary purpose: protecting human life. Patient safety is layered on top of every other concern, and any risk management plans must consider how other exposures relate to and potentially impact the ability to provide quality care.

Not only are healthcare’s risks complex – they are also evolving. Add in the constant specter of regulatory upheaval, exposures associated with COVID-19, mergers and acquisitions amid ongoing consolidation, a shifting malpractice litigation environment, and the perpetual challenge of keeping up with the latest scientific and technological advances. It’s enough to make any risk manager’s head spin.

There is one constant, however – the need for education. To protect organizations and their patients, risk managers and insurance buyers must be informed of emerging threats.
That’s why AXA XL Healthcare has launched its own podcast series dedicated specifically to evolving risks in healthcare. We recognized that there has been a dearth of podcast episodes tailored to the concerns of risk managers, and so AXA XL is filling this gap with short podcasts. The podcasts are brief but informative – approximately 20 minutes in duration – designed to capture the attention of busy risk managers and give them what they really need to hear: how healthcare trends are evolving, and what best practices they should adopt.

The podcast series features conversations with subject matter experts specializing in different areas of risk, ranging from cyber risk to malpractice litigation and the management of insurer relationships.

In the episodes, Carla George, Senior Claims Specialist at AXA XL in Bermuda, and I have had insightful conversations with a diverse group of experts including client account managers, lawyers, claims professionals, and security pros. In case you missed them, here are some of our recent engaging topics:

1. Cyber risk in healthcare
When cyber attacks first appeared on the risk radar, hackers were focused on data theft, and targeted businesses were concerned about privacy more than anything else. Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act violations remain a top worry for healthcare companies, but in today’s world of connected technology, a breach can now have a direct impact on patient safety. A network interruption could disrupt any number of machines that provide vital information to physicians or administer life-saving care to patients.

Among the key takeaways from this conversation: never assume your systems are secure and continually test and strengthen your defenses; and get the C-suite involved in cyber security to drive an enterprise-wide risk management approach.

This episode’s expert also discusses the rising prevalence of ransomware and the role of a breach coach lawyer in navigating a response.

2. Impact of cannabis legislation on healthcare
Because cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance at the Federal level, healthcare providers may hesitate to recommend medical marijuana or sign state certifications for eligible patients, despite a growing body of evidence pointing to this plant’s therapeutic effects – when used safely, of course.

This episode sheds light on how physicians can advise patients about medical marijuana without crossing legal boundaries or exposing themselves to medical malpractice claims. In fact, doctors’ risk is only likely to decrease over time as more states legalize cannabis and more research solidifies its safety profile.

Healthcare providers should be on the lookout for more data behind the cost effectiveness of medical marijuana as alternative or complementary treatment for multiple health conditions, which could spur more U.S. states and health systems to endorse this oft-misunderstood drug.

3. Diversity, cultural competency and improved outcomes
Embedding diversity, inclusion and cultural competency into the delivery of care requires a top-down organizational commitment to health equity. In this episode, you’ll hear how a large East Coast health system created a workforce that looks more like – and better understands -- the communities they serve.

Tracking the impact of the initiatives over several years, it became clear that a diverse and culturally competent staff of providers produces better outcomes – which in this case involved reduced readmission rates, increased breastfeeding among new moms, and improved patient satisfaction scores, to name a few.

Key strategies include recruiting and hiring candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, providing web-based cultural competency training to existing providers, and partnering with local, minority-owned vendors.

Other episodes in the podcast series include:

  • The Value of The Insurer and Insured Relationship
  • Evacuating in The Face of Natural Disaster
  • Legal Pitfalls in Clinical Documentation
  • Crisis Standard of Care
  • Early Disclosure
  • Care Considerations for Behavioral Health Adolescents in the ED

Coming Soon
There’s no shortage of topics for discussions of risk in healthcare. Stay tuned for future episodes including on the importance of diversity and inclusion, the opioids crisis, and attorney insights on the undulating litigation landscape in the U.S.

The AXA XL Healthcare Risk Insights podcast can be accessed via axaxl.com/webinars-and-podcasts and most platforms, including the Apple Podcast App and the Spotify App, or by clicking here.

 

About the Author
Shellé Hendrickson is Head of Healthcare in AXA XL’s Bermuda Insurance Operations. She can be reached via shelle.hendrickson@axaxl.com

 

  • About The Author
  • Head of Healthcare, Bermuda
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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.