American Society for Healthcare Risk Management

American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, 2014
Lead Author:
Michelle Hoppes, RN, MS, AHRMQR, DFASHRM
Sheila Hagg-Rickert, JD, MHA, MBA, CPCU, DFASHRM
Barbara J. Youngberg, BSN, MSW, JD
Barbara A. McCarthy, RN, MPH, CIC, CPHQ, CPHRM, FASHRM
Denise Shope, BSN, RN, MHSA, ARM, FASHRM
Teresa Kielhorn, JD, LLM
Jeffrey Driver, JD, MBA, DFASHRM
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Table of Contents
FRAMEWORK ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3
GUIDING PRINCIPLES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..4
GOVERNANCE ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………5
ERM PROCESS……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………8
RISK & OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION………………………………………………………………………………….8
RISK EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT………………………………………………………………………………………11
STRATEGIC RISK RESPONSE……………………………………………………………………………………………….16
REVIEW / EVALUATE / MONTIOR…………………………………………………………………………………………..18
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..19
END NOTES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..20
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Abstract: Healthcare organizations have made significant strides in developing Enterprise Risk
Management (ERM) programs, but there is still much work to be done. To facilitate this process, ASHRM
has defined ERM and created an ERM Framework for use in healthcare around which an ERM Program can be
formed. This white paper will graphically display the Framework and describe key structural components
necessary in any healthcare setting. Use this Framework to help build consistency in your efforts to move ERM
Audience: Novice, intermediate risk professional, or anyone desiring more information on ERM
Keywords: Enterprise Risk Management, ERM, Framework, Guiding Principles, Governance, Risk &
Opportunity Identification, Assessment, Risk Response, Risk Evaluation
The advancement of healthcare Enterprise Risk Management is a key initiative in ASHRMs Strategic Plan
for 2014-2015. The implementation and maturity of ERM programs in healthcare organizationswhile
making significant stridesstill lag behind large organizations, public companies, and financial services
organizations. Although many healthcare risk-management professionals implement ERM strategies for new
programs, projects and services (particularly to manage clinical, and patient-safety related risks), they fail to
advance ERM strategies on an organization-wide basis beyond those risks and thus miss tremendous
opportunity to increase or create value. Recognizing the elements necessary for ERM program development
and implementation and embedding them in the enterprise is central to program success and sustainability.
Supporting this key ASHRM initiative is the development of a framework around which an ERM Program can
be structured along with a clear, concise and easily understood definition of ERM. This paper offers guidance
on ERM methods specific to healthcare organizations. It outlines ASHRMs ERM Framework highlighting
structural components to support a solid foundation, promote program credibility and success, and advance
ERM principles throughout your healthcare organization.
The Framework, as illustrated in this paper (See Graphic #1) ASHRMs ERM Framework, depicts a sample
structure that can be utilized by any risk-management professional as the developmental foundation of an
organization-wide ERM program. Understandably, each organizations ERM program will vary due to
differences in mission, vision, culture and strategic direction. However, components shown in the sample
Framework are relevant to any healthcare organization. Each group may adopt these elements in a manner
that accommodates the differences noted. Flexibility is important as a one-size-fits-all approach is not
applicable in ERM. Realizing this at the outset will encourage the risk management professional to define
and modify basic structural elements in the Framework to fit their specific organizational needs, particularly
as they relate to unique delivery settings. This sample Framework allows for vital flexibility to create a unique
and individualized healthcare ERM program. Once a Framework to address the specific needs of the
organization is developed, the process may begin for creating program success building blocks such as:
informing, consulting, learning, communicating and reporting.
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The following Guiding Principles in concert with ASHRMs mission and vision have been developed as
basic building blocks supporting the Framework for ERM in healthcare:
Advance safe and trusted healthcare
Manage uncertainty
Maximize value protection and creation
Encourage multidisciplinary accountability1
Optimize organizational readiness
Promote positive organizational culture which
will impact readiness and success
Advance ERM Practices ERM programs
once started are continuous2 and are a
paradigm shift in how an organization
identifies and manages risks and
opportunities. These comprehensive
programs are not a stop on the road, but a
Utilize data/metrics to prioritize risks
Align risk appetite and strategy
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The Governing Body4 of each healthcare organization is ultimately responsible for its ERM program. It is
accountable either directly or through the leadership team for:
Defining ERM as appropriate for the organization
Creating and maintaining a culture that is supportive of ERM
Determining strategy and program objectives
Establishing parameters and levels for risk appetite and tolerance statements
Establishing the ERM structure
Approving the ERM plan (as well as communication and reporting plans)
Providing ERM program oversight
Each of these areas is described in more detail below.
Definition of ERM Adopting a definition of ERM that is clear, concise and understandable is one of the
significant early steps in developing an ERM Program. Without an articulated definition the organization can
embrace, the activities associated with ERM development and implementation can become disjointed and
without purpose. ASHRM has adopted the following definition.
Enterprise risk management in healthcare promotes a comprehensive framework for making risk
management decisions which maximize value protection and creation by managing risk and uncertainty
and their connections to total value.5
Other credible organizations such as the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway
(COSO), The American Heath Lawyers Association7
(AHLA), the Risk and Insurance
Management Society (RIMS)8
, and the International Organization of Standardization ISO 31000:20099 have
all defined ERM, albeit differently. See the Endnotes for those definitions.
TABLE #1 Terms & Complimentary Descriptions
Value Protection Value Creation Managing Uncertainty
Broad perspective
Synergistic effect
Reduce uncertainty
Reduce variability
Shield asset
Efficient use of resources
Quality outcomes
Safe practices
Increased market share
Competitive edge
Financial strength
Improved ROI
Increased margins
Enhanced reputation
Improved satisfaction scores
Quality Outcomes
Reduce Risks
Eliminate Loss
Promote standardization
Use Evidence-Based Practice
Decrease Variability
View the impact of risk holistically
not in silos (eliminate silo mentality)
Understand Chaos theory
Eliminate/minimize lost
Captures the positive or upside
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Culture A Guiding Principle and key element in program implementation is culture and organizational
readiness. The Governing Body is responsible for setting the stage to ensure the organizations culture will
support the ERM program. Organizations that adopt fear as a practice, engage in tactics that are not
conducive to a learning environment, are not fair and just in dealing with employees and staff, allow for
disruptive behavior, and use risk reporting as the basis for disciplinary action are not ready for ERM and will
fail if they try to implement a program.
Anecdotally, a supportive, positive culture correlates (positively) to quality outcomes, performance and
employee satisfaction. However, no culture assessment instrument measured all three dimensions easily.10
Nevertheless, there are many strategic initiatives that support a culture conducive to ERM, including
programs such as: Organizing for High Reliability (HRO), Crew Resource Management (CRM),
TEAMSTEPPS, Just Culture, concepts of Mindfulness, and support for critical thinking. Many use the term
culture in concert with organizational climate and environment even given subtle, but distinct differences.
Strategy A defined strategy is managements game plan for strengthening enterprise performance. It is
the long-term action plan designed to achieve a particular goal or set of goals or objectives.11 In years past,
an organizations Board of Directors, in concert with senior leadership, drafted a 5 – 10 year strategic plan.
Not the case in 2014! With todays complex and rapid shifts in healthcare, organizations develop strategic
plans to cover six months to two years. They rely on committees; engage additional staff, and review and
modify the strategic plan as frequently as each quarter. Organizational strategy is directly linked to an
organizations vision, mission, goals and objectives. (See Graphic #2: Steps to Create a Strategic Plan).
Steps to
Create a
Goals &
RPIs /
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Objectives Objective setting is an important step in ensuring the ERM strategy and comprehensive ERM
plan are actionable and operationalized. Clear objectives offer a roadmap that will support goal attainment.
Several tools can assist in the development of objectives, including: a SWOT analysis to determine
organizational Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and developing SMART12 goals.
The simple but powerful SMART acronym will assist you in remembering five key objective-setting areas:
Specific Clearly articulate the task and what it will achieve.
Measurable Identify the criteria or metrics by which outcomes will be evaluated and define how success
will be measured.
Achievable Prepare a SWOT analysis to determine if the objective is achievable. Understand challenges
and threats to goal attainment in order to identify solutions.
Realistic Pragmatically determine resources necessary to complete the objective. Are these resources
readily available? If not, what can you do? Keep in mind that resources go beyond the financial cost of attaining
objectives and can include additional items such as people, space and energy.
Time Can the objective be completed within the allocated timeframe? What is the timeline? Has an
identifiable start and stop date (or period of time) been identified? Can you build in a cushion for unexpected
Appetite/Tolerance Appetite refers to a broad-based description of the desired level of risk that an entity
will take in pursuit of its mission.
13 Tolerance reflects the threshold or qualitative range of risks taken in pursuit
of strategy or variation in outcomes. Set by the board and senior management, risk appetite and tolerance
are inextricably linked with the organizations strategic plan and are key components of an ERM program.
Therefore, they differ by organization and in the amount and type of risks accepted to achieve desired results.
They are most often expressed as statements accompanied by qualitative and quantitative parameters. As
with other program components, they require continuous monitoring and may require revisions to sync with
current or changing strategy. Appetite and tolerance statements can address the organization as a whole, or
be specific to an individual strategy, unit or division.
ERM Structure & Plans The Governing Body will review and approve the ERM plan and advise on the
framework and structure, offering input where necessary. The ERM plan will identify the roles and
responsibilities of the Board, leadership team, key committees organized to manage the ERM program, such
as a Steering Committee, an Oversight Committee or a Work Group, and key departments such as: Strategic
Planning; Internal Audit; Compliance; Risk Management; Capital Budgeting; and Acquisitions and
Development. Additionally, the ERM plan may emphasize the specific responsibilities of key positions and
could include: the Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Digital/Information Officer
(CDO/CIO), and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Communication & Reporting Plans Historically, the lynchpin of all risk management programs has been
education. The implementation of an ERM program has the same, if not heightened, need for organizationalwide communication and education plans that:
Underscore how the ERM program is to be initiated offering a detailed timeline for implementation
Provide descriptions for all key roles and Committee structures
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Detail activities to educate, inform, and engage all employees
Describe techniques to update all employee as to the Programs progress and outcomes
Detail Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) by which the program will be
routinely evaluated and monitored
Sustain the programs viability and credibility by offering business-case scenarios that highlight value
Oversight Regardless of the delivery setting, the organizations Governing Body is responsible for ERM
program oversight. On a routine basis, status reports should be developed by senior leadership, the
Executive Risk Committee or the ERM Working Group to educate and update the Governing Body on items
specific to:
Progress on risk strategies implemented
Status on KPIs and KRIs
Emerging risks
Recommendations for new projects
Enterprise Risk Management is a business decision making process to identify and manage uncertainty. The
process used in ERM programs is the same as that used in traditional risk management programs, except
that now the risk management professional looks to create value and optimize risk opportunities not just
preserve assets. The steps in the risk management process (or a variety thereof) include: risk and opportunity
identification, risk evaluation and assessment, strategic risk response and implementation, and review,
evaluation and monitoring. These steps will be reviewed in more detail.
A variety of methodologies are available to assist in both risk and opportunity identification, including an array
of tools, processes and systems. Tools can be formal or informal14 and can be retrospective, concurrent,
prospective, and pre-interventional.15
The following are a few of the various tools available:
Strategic Plan
Adverse event reporting
Consultant reports and inspections
Committee reports
Staff meetings and departmental reports
Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
Failure Mode, Effects, & Criticality Analysis

Peer review and quality outcome data
Focus Groups
National Quality Forums (NQF) serious
reportable events (SREs)17
The Joint Commission Sentinel Event
Patient satisfaction surveys
IHI Global Trigger Tool19
Uncertainty can best be seen in this stage of the process. Where are the risks; and can they in turn create
value? When reviewing risk information from any source it is an ideal time to look not only for risks, but also
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for opportunities that have the capacity to create value. Examples might include: improved relationships with
stake/shareholders, community, patients, and providers; increased market share; improved quality outcomes;
deceased turnover; enhanced patient satisfaction; and improved communication and reporting that promotes
Risk List
As risks and opportunities are identified they should be preserved on a master list commonly referred to as
a risk list. A risk list is simply a listing, in no particular order, of all risks and opportunities identified through
the myriad tools, processes and systems (identified earlier in this paper) that capture risks to the organization.
At this point in the process, no assessment as to likelihood or impact is done on the risk and opportunities
Risk domains20, also referred to as categories or areas of risks, are simply a method used to segregate
similar risks into manageable groupings. It is one way to sort or classify risks, keeping in mind that many, if
not most risks, will fall into several domains. For example: the risk associated with work-related employee
injuries is generally grouped with other risks within the Human Capital domaina broad term to describe
what used to be known as human resources, or personnel. However, keep in mind that employee injuries
also have a financial cost to the organization overlapping with the financial domain and could have a
regulatory component if mandatory workplace rules are breeched thereby overlapping in the Legal /
Regulatory domain. The use of domains encourages a more comprehensive view of risks versus a silo
approach and reminds us that there are risks beyond Clinical / Patient Safety risks. This process also might
serve to help identify where support and leadership for other departments might be necessary. The use of
risk domains visually display related risks or a family or risks so that synergistic relationships become
apparent and are easily viewed.
Once the risks to the organization have been identified, assessed and strategies for value protection and
value creation have been developed, the utility of risk domains is diminished. They have a distinct and limited
purpose and are only one tool in a box of many.
Table 2 identifies the eight ASHRM-supported domains with accompanying definitions and examples. These
domains represent typical categories of risks specific to healthcare. But domains are no different from other
structural elements in ERM in that they must be personalized and made unique to the organization. Some
industries use only two or three domains, while others expand the list to include areas such as market share,
brand and reputation. Risk domains should take into consideration an organizations major risks, contracting
or expanding them where necessary.
Risk Drivers
Risk management professionals look to identify factors that can create risks. Factors may be classified as
either internal or external to the organization, and can exaggerate or minimize risks. Each risk and opportunity
identified will have its own set of drivers. Examples of internal risk drivers might include;
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Domain Description / Example
1 Operational
The business of healthcare is the delivery of care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, and patientcentered within diverse populations. Operational risks relate to those risks resulting from inadequate
or failed internal processes, people, or systems that affect business operations. Included are risks
related to: adverse event management, credentialing and staffing, documentation, chain of command,
and deviation from practice.
Clinical /
Patient Safety
Risks associated with the delivery of care to residents, patients and other healthcare customers.
Clinical risks include: failure to follow evidence based practice, mediation errors, hospital acquired
conditions (HAC), serious safety events (SSE), and others.
3 Strategic
Risks associated with the focus and direction of the organization. Because the rapid pace of change
can create unpredictability, risks included within the strategic domain are associated with brand,
reputation, competition, failure to adapt to changing times, health reform or customer priorities.
Managed care relationships/partnerships, conflict of interest, marketing and sales, media relations,
mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, affiliations and other business arrangements,
contract administration, and advertising are other areas generally considered as potential strategic
4 Financial
Decisions that affect the financial sustainability of the organization, access to capital or external
financial ratings through business relationships or the timing and recognition of revenue and expenses
make up this domain. Risks might include: costs associated with malpractice, litigation, and insurance,
capital structure, credit and interest rate fluctuations, foreign exchange, growth in programs and
facilities, capital equipment, corporate compliance (fraud and abuse), accounts receivable, days of
cash on hand, capitation contracts, billing and collection.
5 Human Capital
This domain refers to the organizations workforce. This is an important issue in todays tight labor and
economic markets. Included are risks associated with employee selection, retention, turnover, staffing,
absenteeism, (workers compensation), work schedules and fatigue,
productivity and compensation. Human capital associated risks may cover recruitment, retention, and
termination of members of the medical- and allied-health staff.
Legal /
Risk within this domain incorporates the failure to identify, manage and monitor legal, regulatory, and
statutory mandates on a local, state and federal level. Such risks are generally associated with fraud
and abuse, licensure, accreditation, product liability, management liability, Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and Conditions for Coverage (CfC), as
well as issues related to intellectual property.
7 Technology
This domain covers machines, hardware, equipment, devices and tools, but can also include
techniques, systems and methods of organization. Healthcare has seen an explosion in the use of
technology for clinical diagnosis and treatment, training and education, information storage and
retrieval, and asset preservation. Examples also include Risk Management Information Systems
(RMIS), Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Meaningful Use, social networking and cyber liability.
8 Hazard
This ERM domain covers assets and their value. Traditionally, insurable hazard risk has related to
natural exposure and business interruption. Specific risks can also include risk related to: facility
management, plant age, parking (lighting, location, and security), valuables, construction/renovation,
earthquakes, windstorms, tornadoes, floods, fires.
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resource availability (or lack of), distraction from task (employee fatigue, inattentional blindness21
interruptions), and organizational culture. An organizations culture as a risk driver can have a positive or
negative impact on risks and opportunity. Examples of external drivers may include: governmental mandates,
rules and regulations, competition, activities to unionize, natural disasters, terrorism, and fluctuations in the
availability of key personnel. If the organization can manage external drivers, risks may be turned into
Emerging Risks
Many organizations take time to understand their market, appropriately evaluate their competition, apply best
practice to all mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, analyze large data to both evaluate current practice and
create advantages, and forecast trends. These efforts allow them to identify emerging risks and to develop
appropriate strategic responses in a timely manner. Keep in mind that predicting all risks is not possible and
we will continue to see those events considered to be a Black Swan.
Black Swan events are those considered to have a low likelihood of occurring, but when they do occur their
impact is catastrophic. Another characteristic is that they are impossible to predict. According to an article in
the Harvard Business Review22, Instead of trying to predict low-probability, high impact events, we should
reduce our vulnerability to them. Through proactive efforts to identify emerging risk, the organization will
become resilient and better positioned to weather an adverse event should one occur.
Once a list of risks to the organization has been identified and memorialized on the risk list, the risk
management professional should start the assessment process by reviewing this risk list (keeping in mind,
at this point, it could be quite voluminous) to look for similar/same risks (redundancy) noted by multiple people
or by different departments. These risks should be combined – reducing the list to a more manageable
number. The risk list should also be reviewed to identify opportunities for cost-effective, easily implemented
mitigation strategies (low-hanging fruit). Implementing these quick fixes will give the ERM Program some
immediate wins which can be used to engage the employees and inform them about the ERM Program.
Further analysis of the risk list will identify risks that have effective risk mitigation strategies already in place.
There is no reason, other than verifying that the strategies are still effective, to devote time to risks already
being managed. These risks are considered to be residual risks and less emphasis is spent on them as
opposed to inherent risks or risks before any mitigation strategies are employed. The risk management
professional should be alert to opportunities to eliminate redundancy, identify risk correlations both positive
and negative recognizing the synergistic effect risks have upon each other, and conserve resource
consumption wherever possible. See Table #3: Sample Risk List.
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TABLE #3 Sample Risk List
Strategic /
External Operational Human
Capital Financial Legal &
Technology Hazard
Mergers &
Variability in
Grant /
New Models
for Care
Change /
Conflict of
Hospital /
Availability of
Public Data
Discipline /
Failure to
Identify &
Follow EBM
Timely Access
to Care
Failure to
Failure to
Hiring &
Alignment &
Flex Staffing
Credit /
Accuracy /
Payer Mix /
Pension /
Philanthropy /
Fundraising /
Failure to
Meet Margin
ed Care
Access to
Conflicts of
Fraud, Theft
and Oversight
HIPAA Privacy
& Security
Health Reform
Bar Coding
Hybrid EMR
& Security
Paucity of IT
Failure to Act
in a Timely
Failure to Plan
Failure to Act
Inability to
Manage a
No Backup
Systems or
Risk Inventory/Risk Register
As the assessment process continues, the risk list will be used to create a more detailed document called a
risk inventory and includes additional information such as the category or risk domain (keep in mind that a
single risk can cross over into many different domains/categories). On the risk inventory, the risk
management professional should choose the domain/category that has the most exposure, and the risk score
including a numerical assessment of the likelihood and impact. See Table #4: sample Risk Inventory.
Refining the risk inventory into a manageable number of risks and to prioritize which require attention first,
most risk management professionals use two dimensions to assess risk: likelihood and impact.
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Likelihood also referred to as frequency or probability,
25 refers to the number of times an adverse event or
occurrence (a risk) will happen. This dimension is expressed in terms of a number or ratio.
Impact also referred to as severity, refers to the anticipated outcome of the risk if it occurs. Impact is most
often referenced in financial terms (dollars $) and can also be referred to as vulnerability, consequences
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or costs. In some healthcare organizations, impact also refers to the level of harm (or potential harm) to a
An additional or third dimension that is often used to further evaluate and assess risk is velocity. Velocity,
also known as the time to impact, refers to the speed of action or of an event occurring, time in which you
have to take action, realize the outcome of a risk occurring or the duration of the event. As an example,
contrast the velocity of an earthquake and a hurricane. Earthquakes offer no warning and there is little time
in which to respond making contingency planning imperative. With an impending hurricane, weather
forecasters give the public time to respond by offering appropriate warning and a watch notices.
Risk Scales refer to a numerical scoring system used to rank or prioritize risks based on the key dimensions
usually likelihood and impact. Other dimensions in addition to velocity can include the impact on reputation,
brand and/or market share. Risk scales can be developed for individual domains (i.e., finance, patient safety,
human capital, etc.) or organization-wide based on risk appetite. A Likert scale ranking of one (1) to five (5)
is most often used. With 1 being the lowest, least likely to occur, or least impactful. Using the range of 1 to 5
for both dimensions the highest ranking is 25. If velocity is used as a third dimension, a Likert scale of 1 to 3
is most often used with 3 being the least amount to time to respond, or minimal advance warning or longest
period of time to recover. As an example, a hurricane may be a 2 on the risk scale while an earthquake would
be a 3.
Risk Scores are generated for each significant risk and prioritized in numerical order. To determine the
ranking the likelihood score is multiplied by the impact score to determine the risk score.
Likelihood x Impact = Risk Score
If velocity (time to impact) is added to likelihood and impact as a third dimension to generate a risk score the
formula is:
Likelihood + Velocity x Impact = Risk Score
A Risk Map is a graphical display of risks and accompanying risk score plotted on an X and Y axis utilizing
the above two key dimensions of frequency and severity. It is sometimes referred to as a heat map because
of the color display of risk (red critical, yellow medium risk and green risks that are less significant). See
Graphic #3: Sample Risk Map
After the risk scores have been entered on the risk inventory tool and prioritized by order of significance (risk
ranking), and graphically depicted on a risk map/heat map, many risk management professionals will make
a more comprehensive assessment of the top 20 to 25 risks that offer the potential to effect strategy and the
attainment of objectives. This furthers analysis is captured on what is referred to as a risk register. Besides
information already populated from the risk inventory tool, additional information depicted on a risk register
might include: risk drivers both internal and external to the organization, risk response including value
preservation (risk control and risk financing), and opportunities for value creation and enhancement.
Other data elements that could be added to the risk register include: the effectiveness of risk mitigation efforts,
what mitigation efforts are needed, challenges and benefits, responsible party, action plans and
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implementation timelines. Keep in mind that these templates (risk list, risk inventory and risk register) are
tools to assist in the recording of information, in and unto themselves they offer no value.
It is the effective and efficient use of the information contained within these tools that is of importance and
will be helpful in developing an appropriate and specific ERM program for your organization.
1 2 3 4 5
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Table #5 offers an example of what a simple risk register might look like.
TABLE #5 Risk Register
Category /
Likelihood (L),
numbers #,
Impact (I),
severity $,
harm index
Risk Score
L x I = RS
Risk Drivers
(Internal &
(in place &
to Create,
Risk evaluation and assessment brings clarity to the decision-making process and is necessary to assist
organizations in allocating appropriate and effective resources for strategic risk response strategies.
Determining which risks require attention and how to promote value are important aspects of this step in the
risk management decision-making process.
Once an organization identifies, analyzes, and assesses the risks it encounters and identifies the potential
for creating value, the next step is to take action by the development and implementation of effective and
efficient risk response strategies. There is no one technique that if employed will manage all risks offering
both value protection and value creation. A combination of techniques is necessary and includes both risk
control and risk financing strategies. See Table #6: Techniques to Manage Risks. Together these techniques
offer the protection of valuable assets while recognizing value and are considered to be both proactive and
TABLE #6 Techniques to Manage Risks
Risk Control Techniques Risk Financing Techniques
1. Avoidance
2. Prevention
3. Reduction
4. Segregation
5. Non-Insurance Transfer
1. Retain Self-insure
2. Transfer Insurance
3. Non-Insurance Transfer
A major difference between a traditional risk management program and the organization-wide ERM programs
is the effort to create and recognize value. Previously, the majority of effort was spent on value protection
and other reactive strategies to mitigate risks. Little knowledge of the effect of uncertainty on value was
understood and therefore not captured or enhanced. Value if created was serendipitous, unplanned and
solely by chance. ERM programs change that dynamic and consider value creation, recognition and
enhancement on the same level as value protection.
The appropriate deployment of strategic risk response solutions becomes a critical function given limited
resources and other competing priorities many of which are unfunded and unstaffed. The minimization of
variability in , reduction in duplicate efforts by differing units and departments, and a decrease
in the volume of work to be redone can all help improve efficiency.
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When dealing with uncertainty, the ability to make informed decisions supportive of the organizations
strategic goals and objectives is tantamount to success. Quantitative support for decision-making and project
implementation is becoming an essential ERM skill set. It is incumbent upon risk management practitioners
to develop these skills or identify those with decision-analysis expertise and to partner with them.
Decision Analysis
Rules of thumb, intuition, tradition, and simple financial analysis are often no longer sufficient for addressing
such common decisions as make-versus-buy, facility site selection, and process redesign. In general, the
forces of competition are imposing a need for more effective decision making at all levels in organizations.
Decision analysis takes many forms and has differing schools of thought. Simply put, it is the ability to make
rational decisions by understanding and analyzing the benefits (rewards/value) and disadvantages
(cost/risks) of taking a particular action as compared with the benefits (rewards/value) and disadvantages
(costs/risks) of not taking a particular action. In this manner, alternatives are evaluated and decisions are
made that are guided, informed and structured.
A few factors should be noted:
There is one decision maker (someone has the final decision)
Decisions involve action on the part of the decision maker
Decision analysis involves probabilities and outcomes
There are often many alternatives to analyze and from which a course of action is chosen
Better decisions have better data/information
Consideration of the organizations Guiding Principles should be part of decision analysis
The anticipated (and real) return on the decision is considered the payoff
Decisions and payoffs should be measurable
Understand the importance that emotion has in decision making, particularly when dealing with those who
impact patient safety. Can something be legally right and morally wrong?
Decisions should be analyzed in both the short and long terms (organization to determine timeline)
The risk manager is usually the decision analysis facilitator outlining alternatives and benefits
Cost-benefit analysis and risk-reward analysis are familiar terms to most risk management professionals.
With a cost-benefit analysis the decision analyst takes into account the total anticipated cost of a project as
compared with the projected or perceived benefit/value. Similarly, under a risk-reward scenario, the risk
inherent in undertaking a project is evaluated and quantified in relation to what the expected reward or payoff
is in terms of dollars. Both techniques are used in healthcare to assist in making more informed decisions.
Data analytics and the use of big data support healthcare efforts to create value, drive decisions, improve
outcomes, and offer a competitive advantage all value propositions. Healthcare organizations for the most
part have the capacity within their systems to accommodate vast amounts of data. As early as 2001, analyst
Doug Laney described three characteristics that made data big and called them the 3 Vs: volume (amount
of data); velocity (the speed at which data is produced or generated); and variety (types of data generated
Enterprise Risk Management: A Framework for Success
ASHRM 2014 18 | P a g e
and produced).
28 Current descriptions of big data include additional characteristics not previously described
and include.
Validity Addresses reliability
Venue Describes complexity from a high
diversity of data sources
Visualization Putting complex data sets
into actionable form
Value Realizing real business value on a
repeatable basis
A human capital concern with decision analysis, data analytics, and the use of big data for business
intelligence is the paucity of professional skills in this area. Data scientists and data professionals skilled in
healthcare and IT are few and far between and very much in demand.
Armed with informed, deliberate, well thought out strategic risk-response solutions, the risk management
professional can then oversee their implementation.
The final step in the risk management decision-making process is the continuous review, evaluation and
monitoring of the ERM program. Embedded in this step is the recognition of value that is created throughout
the process. Routinely addressing the following questions will simplify the more formal annual review of the
Is the program meeting current needs?
Is there an assigned professional responsible for the ERM program?
Are current strategies evaluated in light of emerging or previously unknown risks?
Have significant risks to the organization been identified and addressed?
Have you had any major, unanticipated risks occur for which you were unprepared?
Have lessons learned been incorporated into new strategies for improvement?
Do all employees know their role and do they all participate in the ERM program?
Do all strategies and solutions developed to address risks have criteria built in by which their success or failure
will be evaluated?
Do all implemented strategies have an assigned responsible party?
Are all strategies reviewed periodically to determine whether the strategy is still appropriate for the risk?
Is the ERM program tied in with strategic planning?
Are all strategies and solutions reviewed for value-creation opportunities?
Has the organization created a competitive advantage, improved market share, enhanced morale, improved
community reputation or realized other value from implementation of the ERM program? Are these shared
on a real-time basis with employees?
Are the Board and senior leadership team routinely apprised of ERM program status?
Are risk controls evaluated and modified if necessary in light of organizational (mergers, acquisitions or
divestitures) or environmental (terrorism, pandemic, competition) changes?
Are risk appetite and tolerance statements developed; and is adherence ensured?
Are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) developed and reviewed as monitors
for the ERM program?
Enterprise Risk Management: A Framework for Success
ASHRM 2014 19 | P a g e
Answering these questions will help you to evaluate your ERM programs implementation and to make
mid-course changes, if necessary. On a more formal basis and for internal and external reporting most ERM
programs are evaluated at least yearly. This evaluative report will offer status on:
Risks identified
Progress on, and results of, risk-response
strategies and solutions implemented
Barriers and challenges to the success of the
ERM program
Improvement opportunities
Program changes
Lessons learned
Goals and objectives for the next year
Business case scenarios are an additional tool and are valuable in delivering the message to wide internal
and external audiences. Of particular interest and a feature specific to ERM programs is the report section
on value creation and recognized opportunities to enhance benefits and rewards while reducing risks and
The Framework as described and developed by ASHRM for the development and implementation of
healthcare Enterprise Risk Management programs offers a flexible structure to guide and support risk
management professionals as they tackle the task of advancing and evolving traditional risk programs into
sophisticated, organization-wide, ERM programs. This Framework identifies key structural components and
will assist with the planning and design of ERM programs focused on value protection and creation.
Enterprise Risk Management: A Framework for Success
ASHRM 2014 20 | P a g e
1 Accountability is one of the major keys to attaining desired results. Lack of clarity around a project, responsibilities, or goals often
leads to inadequate communication, inefficient results, and unmet goals. Accountability involves assigning clear responsibilities
and ownership around all parts of a project or risk, not just at the senior executive level, but also pushed down through the business
unit, the business process or the function, to the risk owner. Add Spreadsheets to Your Inventory.
July 2009 available online at:
2 As stated in A Structured Approach to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and the Requirements of ISO 31000. @AIRMIC,
Alarm, IRM: 2010 Risk Management should be a continuous process that supports the development and implementation of the
strategy of an organization p.6
3 Carroll. RL, Enterprise Risk Management: The Impact on Healthcare Organizations, Ch11, 115, in Principles of Risk Management
and Patient Safety, Barbara Youngberg ed. (2011) Jones & Bartlett Learning
4 The terms Governing Body and Board are used throughout this paper and are meant to refer to the collective body (also known
as Trustees, Governing Council, and Authority) responsible for setting the ERM Strategy, approving the ERM Plan and Framework,
and ERM Program Oversight. The Governing Body can be elected or appointed, and be voluntary or paid positions.
5 Developed by ASHRMs ERM Task Force (now an Advisory Committee) and adopted by the Board of Directors Sept. 19, 2012.
6 COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission) is a voluntary council with members from five
accounting organizations representing a cooperative effort between the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants,
American Accounting Association, the Financial Executives Institute, the Institute of Internal Auditors, and the Institute of
Management Accountants. For more information, go to COSO defines ERM as a process, affected by an
entitys board of directors, management and other personnel, applied in strategy-setting and across the enterprise, designed to
identify potential events that may affect the entity, and manage risk to be within its risk appetite, to provide reasonable assurance
regarding the achievement of entity objectives.
7 Carroll RL. Enterprise Risk Management Whats It All About? In Carroll RL editor in-chief, Nakamura PLB, Rose R, editors.
Enterprise Risk Management Handbook for Healthcare Entities. 2
nd ed. Washington (DC):
AHLA/ASHRM; 2013:6 AHLA in the Enterprise Risk Management Handbook for Healthcare Entities, 2nd edition offers a definition
of ERM as: an on-going business decision-making process instituted and supported by the healthcare organizations board of
directors, executive administrative and medical staff leadership. ERM recognizes the synergistic effect of risks across the
continuum of care, and has as its goal to assist the organization reduce uncertainty and process variability, promote patient safety
and maximize the return on investment (ROI) through asset preservation, value creation, and the recognition of actionable risk
8 RIMS defines enterprise risk management as a strategic business discipline that supports the achievement of an organizations
objectives by addressing the full spectrum of its risks and managing the combined impact of those risks as an interrelated risk
portfolio. RIMS Executive Report The Risk Perspective An Overview of Widely used Risk Management Standards and Guidelines
ISO 31000:2009 Risk management Risk management is an integral part of all organizational processes. [It] is not a standalone activity that is separate from the main activities and processes of the organization. Risk management is part of the
responsibilities of management and an integral part of all organizational processes, including strategic planning and all project and
change management processes.
Source: Council of Standards Australia on Nov. 6, 2009 and the Council of Standards New Zealand on Oct. 16, 2009. From a
Presentation Enterprise Risk Management: COSO, New COSO, ISO 31000 prepared by:
Dr. Hugh Van Seaton, Ed. D., CSSGB, CGMA, CPA
10 Tim Scott, Russell Mannion, Huw Davies, Martin Marshall. The Quantitative Measurement of Organizational Culture in Health
Care: A Review of the Available Instruments. Health Services Research (HSR) June 2003; 38(3): 923-946
11 Rapid Business Intelligence Success. A definition of Business Strategy available at:

Enterprise Risk Management: A Framework for Success
ASHRM 2014 21 | P a g e

12 SMART goals first appeared in a November 1981 issue of Management Review (vol. 70, issue 11) (AMA- FORUM) pp 35-36,
in an article titled ‘Theres a S.M.A.R.T. way to write managements goals and objectives.’ by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and
James Cunningham.
13 COSO Strengthening Enterprise Risk Management for Strategic Advantage, 2009
14 Formal Methods Systems, processes, programs, methods, reports and/or policies and procedures for which the primary
purpose is the early identification of adverse or unexpected patient outcomes and hazards and value opportunities.
Informal Methods Systems, processes, programs, methods, reports and/or policies and procedures for which the identification
of adverse patient outcomes or hazards and opportunities to create value are not the primary purpose.
15 The four methods to identify risk are: Retrospectively = Based on Information from past events, Prospectively = Based on an
analysis of likely potential exposures, Concurrently = Based on real-time monitoring of situations and events, Pre-interventional =
Based on information collected in relation to a specific situation just prior to commencing action or treatment.
16 Failure Modes and Effects Criticality, Analysis (FMECA) is a systematic, proactive method for evaluating a process to identify
where and how it might fail, and to assess the relative impact of different failures in order to identify the parts of the process that
are most in need of change.
(NQF), Serious Reportable Events In Healthcare2011 Update: A Consensus Report, Washington
D.C., NQF; 2011
A sentinel event is an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk
thereof. Serious injury specifically includes loss of limb or function. The phrase, or the risk thereof includes any process
variation for which a recurrence would carry a significant chance of a serious adverse outcome. Such events are called
sentinel because they signal the need for immediate investigation and response. For more information see Sentinel Events at: event.aspx
19 Institute for Healthcare Improvement Global Trigger Tool available at:
Site accessed July 15, 2014
20 Adopted from ASHRMs Risk Management PEARLs #1 Enterprise Risk Management The Foundation. Chapter 3 The Eight
Risk Domains of ERM pp 20-23. 2013 Edition
21 the person performing the task fails to see what should have been plainly visible, and later, they cannot explain the lapse
ISMP Acute Care – ISMP Medication Safety Alert. Feb. 26, 2009 Issue available at: Site accessed July 15, 2014
22 Nassim N. Taleb, Daniel G. Goldstein, Mark W. Spitznagel. The Six Mistakes Executives Make In Risk Management, Harvard
Business Review October 2009 pp 78-81
23 Developed for the ASHRM Essentials Module Program by Roberta Carroll Reprinted with permission
24 Developed for the ASHRM Essentials Module Program by Roberta Carroll Reprinted with permission
25 Probability when used in this context is subjective, not quantifiable
26 Developed for the ASHRM Essentials Module Program by Roberta Carroll Reprinted with Permission
27 Professor Hossein Arsham. Tools for Decision Analysis: Analysis of Risky Decisions available online at:, Site accessed Aug. 18, 2014
28 Doug Laney 3D Data Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity and Variety. Application Delivery Strategies. Meta Group.
Feb. 6, 2001
29 Deloitte Tech Trends 2013 Enablers Finding the Face of Your Data available at:
30 For more information on RPIs and KRIs read the three ASHRMs PEARLS on ERM. To purchase go to or
call 800- 242-2626

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