How can healthcare handle all the far-reaching trends?
May 17, 2016
From cyber attacks to medical marijuana, critical issues facing healthcare organizations were the focus of the Zurich 2016 Healthcare Symposium.
The healthcare industry is operating in a rapidly changing landscape, facing many diverse challenges in the coming decade—from new care delivery models such as telemedicine to the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions and the confusion between state and federal laws with medical marijuana.
That’s why during the Zurich 2016 Healthcare Symposium in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, last week, we invited leading healthcare organizations to join us in discussing how the industry could respond to these and many other business, workforce and technology issues and trends. Although it’s impossible to share all the valuable insights from the two full days of sessions in this post, here are some key takeaways:
- Healthcare organizations are top targets for cyber attacks
In 2014 and 2015, healthcare accounted for 39% of data breaches, more than the financial sector, business or the government. Protecting your organization’s data assets must be a key priority of your senior executives and board of directors. Much of the discussion focused on how to create digital resilience for health care organizations, including using the NIST Framework that was created to provide clear guidelines and practices to protect critical infrastructure.
- Medical marijuana is a highly complex risk
The number of states allowing for comprehensive public medical marijuana now stands at 24, along with the District of Columbia and Guam. The growing acceptance of this treatment is creating an exponential number of risk complexities, including an ongoing conflict between federal and state laws regarding its use and a lack of medical standards. For hospitals, risk issues include physician liability and storage of patient’s own medications, along with patient safety, such as interaction with other medications.
- Treating your own workforce is costly — especially as employees age
Hospitals employ workers of all ages and skills. While the number and types of claims across age groups are fairly consistent, the cost of claims among hospital workers age 45 and older can be two to three times that of younger workers, as discussed in the findings of the Benchmark Study of Healthcare Workers’ Compensation Claims. According to Zurich claims data from 2002-2015, the average claim of workers ages 45 to 54 is about $7,000 compared to half that among workers ages 25 to 34. Strains represent the highest frequency injury, but slip-trip-fall injuries are the most severe claims, with average amounts reaching close to $9,000.
The mission of every healthcare organization is to provide quality care in a cost-efficient manner. Senior executives and risk managers face more issues than ever in delivering a high level of patient care and bottom-line profitability.