By PJ O’Connor, Vice President, Client Initiatives, OC Reilly, Inc.

(July 19, 2021)–We may be “done” with Covid, but that doesn’t mean Covid is done with us. As long as the virus still has opportunities to infect and spread, it will continue to do so.

But, at least in the U.S., vaccination rates have helped society turn the corner into a situation where the risk has been contained. So while declaring complete victory over Covid may still be premature, the outlines of a post-Covid world have come into view.

Health care systems have been wracked and rocked over the past two years in treating victims of the pandemic, all while deferring elective surgeries and other revenue-producing activities. Old rules and long-understood risks have been shaken, broken, and need to be assessed and addressed all over again.

Now that the worst of the crisis appears to be passing, how do those health care systems find their footing again with a degree of confidence? The answer comes down to a single word: agility.

An article in the April 2021 issue of HFM states, “Some executives may reasonably be questioning whether their organization is nimble enough to evolve during Covid-19. Navigating risk in an environment forever changed by Covid-19 demands that leaders be both risk-aware and risk-ready” by embracing a culture that includes:

  • Finely tuned processes for identifying and monitoring enterprise risk.
  • Aligned and coordinated functions for risk response.
  • Individuals with the right skillsets and experience to execute the organization’s risk response.

Carefully monitoring and coaching managers who may resist the required changes and adaptations is key, along with making sure employees experience visible and viable support from senior leadership. Avoiding a mismatch between the perception of risk and the willingness to dedicate resources to mitigate those risks becomes important in a post-Covid environment, as well.

Risk must be accepted as part of doing business as systems provide quality health care. That much has always been true. But as the business of health care emerges from the trauma of the Covid pandemic, the agility and flexibility required of health systems in recognizing, strategizing, and dealing with risks in this new world may be more important than ever.

© 2021 OC Reilly, Inc.