Risk managers seeking to improve their careers must evolve continually with the changing healthcare landscape, says Ann Burke, RN, CPHRM, CPPS, director of risk management with Coverys, a liability insurer based in Boston.

There are new technologies to consider, along with value-based reimbursement models, that are dependent on quality patient outcomes, she says. Healthcare delivery models continue to bring new and sometimes unfamiliar services and exposures to an organization, she says.

“The healthcare environment is not stagnant. To stay ahead of turns in the road, it is imperative that risk managers approach patient safety and risk proactively utilizing an enterprisewide lens,” Burke says. “Data analytics is currently viewed as a key component of proactive risk management and will become even more vital to the risk management role. Risk managers should get ready for the ride and be prepared to wear their enterprise risk management hats to address operational, clinical/patient safety, strategic, financial, human capital, legal/regulatory, technology, and hazard exposures as the delivery of healthcare and patient needs and expectations evolve.”

For risk managers to best position themselves for future career opportunities, it is essential to stay informed of not only current but evolving risk and patient safety issues, Burke says. Take advantage of what national, state, and regional professional risk management and patient safety societies may offer for education and training.

“A lot of insight into current challenges and solutions can be gained through networking with risk management and patient safety peers,” she says. “Expanding knowledge to include enterprise risk management strategies will help position a risk manager for the future.”

Burke notes that there are options for healthcare risk managers to work in a variety of settings. Opportunities exist in acute care hospitals, outpatient services, urgent care and retail clinics, and medical liability and healthcare insurance companies. Obtaining the proper education and credentials will allow risk managers more freedom to choose from the available options, she says.

“Regardless of the environment, risk management employment opportunities usually require several years of experience in the healthcare field, and many require RN licensure and varying college degrees. Some risk managers also hold their juris doctorate and may have worked as an attorney in the healthcare arena,” Burke says.

“Holding the designation as a certified professional in healthcare risk management [CPHRM] is considered a premium certification for the risk management profession, and many employees either require or prefer certification as part of the hiring credentials,” she explains. “Another designation that risk managers hold is that of a certified professional in patient safety — CPPS. The bearer of this certification is recognized as holding core patient safety knowledge.”