From Commitments to Competitive Advantage: Implementing a GRC Framework

From Commitments to Competitive Advantage: Implementing a GRC Framework

December 1, 2021
December 1, 2021

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) affects nearly every department within a hospital or healthcare system, and is vitally important to complying with regulation, adequately assessing risk, and ensuring policies and procedures are followed enterprise-wide. A good GRC framework helps an organization achieve business goals, address uncertainty, and maintain ethical practices. For that reason, GRC implementation is often described as a secret weapon in gaining a competitive advantage, because it can reduce costs, eliminate duplication and waste, and achieve consistency and efficiency in implementing processes.

According to the nonprofit group OCEG, often credited with inventing the first GRC model, the strategy is defined as "the integrated collection of capabilities that enable an organization to reliably achieve objectives, address uncertainty, and act with integrity."1 As they point out, most businesses have been performing the types of processes and actions aligned with GRC for decades, long before GRC was considered. However, the GRC framework ties everything together and also addresses the maturity level of the controls in place. For an organization to grow from a highly reactive model (i.e., waiting until risks are presented to deal with them) to one that is highly strategic (i.e., all teams know and understand organizational objectives and act in coordination to handle risks) is quite a feat, but the rewards can result in huge operational cost savings and a better overall experience for patients and staff.

Why is GRC particularly important in healthcare?

As a highly regulated industry, healthcare organizations have a lot to gain from implementing a solid GRC framework. Because a good strategy aligns IT and information security objectives with business objectives, one of the first areas of concern within healthcare is the privacy and security of patient personal identifiers (PII) and protected health information (PHI). There are many cyber security objectives for safeguarding patient data, not the least of which is avoiding a breach. Establishing patient trust that their information is secure is just as important as any other non-clinical aspect of care.

Other GRC considerations include: Vendor credentialing, employee workforce management, quality control, and staff evaluations and professional development. These are all complex processes, particularly in large hospitals or healthcare systems. While these tasks are performed by separate departments, there are a lot of ways in which these functions overlap and should therefore have an overarching framework governing them.

While the task of implementing a GRC framework seems daunting, many organizations utilize technology solutions to help them achieve their goals. These tools help tremendously and take the burden off of staff, which would otherwise be faced with keeping track of files and records manually. Additionally, the analytical data that is generated from these tools leads to greater insight and quality for patients, staff and the community as a whole. Here are a few things to look for when making decisions about the right tools for your organization:

  • Automation: As with most functions, the ability to automate complex process that otherwise burden staff is extremely useful.
  • Integration: A solution with the ability to coordinate multiple tasks from one platform is ideal, particularly if it utilizes a dashboard with useful data reports and functionality.
  • Assessment: A tool that makes assessment or measurement of any goals or milestones easier is critical for healthcare and also aids in implementing a GRC framework.
  • Communication: If you want to move away from departments working in silos and redundancies, communication is essential to gather or share information important to the process.

Implementing a GRC program can be a significant commitment of time, money and resources. However, with the proper tools in place, the process is made easier and in fact contributes to the achievement of business goals that are aligned around the GRC framework. HealthStream has numerous proven applications for delivering operational improvement and meeting the needs of your GRC strategy. For example, VerityStream delivers enterprise-class solutions that are transforming credentialing, enrollment, privileging, and evaluation accessed through hStream, simplifying this task and ensuring compliance. Then there is Quality Manager, which helps manage quality assurance and performance to prioritize and guide governance efforts.

These types of solutions (and many others provided on the HealthStream platform) become critical in an increasingly complex and resource limited environment. The gains achieved through increased automation, effective integration and assessment, and shared communications can offset these challenges. By focusing on continuous improvement, innovation, and driving meaningful outcomes, these proven applications have helped thousands of organizations, and HealthStream is constantly making improvements based on customer feedback and industry changes.