Overview of the Healthcare Risk Management Profession

If you are interested in learning more about healthcare risk management as a career, this page defines who risk managers are, what they do, how to become a risk manager, where the jobs are, and why you should choose this career.

Healthcare risk management is a diverse profession in a dynamic and evolving healthcare industry. Healthcare risk managers hold a wide variety of titles and work in a cross-section of organizations. It’s no wonder that when people ask, “what is a healthcare risk manager” that we frequently hear diverse responses. The truth is that we do operate in wide range of settings and organizations. But, we have many common professional attributes. And, it’s because there are so many different types of opportunities for healthcare risk management professionals, that our profession is so interesting and rewarding.

The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) is the professional association for healthcare risk managers. We are nearly 6,000 members strong. We’d like to help answer your questions.

So, who are healthcare risk managers?

Healthcare risk managers come from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. We have an interest in the broad-based discipline of healthcare risk management because we enjoy working to positively influence the healthcare industry, and contribute to the delivery of safe and trusted healthcare. We are men and women across the country in every state, and we serve large and small communities and organizations.

What do healthcare risk managers do?

It’s a very dynamic profession and we believe that this is the fun part of being a healthcare risk manager. By nature, we are flexible professionals and we are an integral part of delivering safe and trusted healthcare. Specifically, some examples of what we do include risk financing; event and incident management; clinical, financial, legal and general business aspects; the psychological and human factors of healthcare; statistical analysis; insurance; and claims management. However, our job descriptions are unique to the organizations in which we are employed.

How can I become a healthcare risk manager?

There is not a direct, singular route to becoming a healthcare risk manager. However, you must have a basic understanding of risk management within the healthcare world through practical experience and/or education. Common educational backgrounds include business, insurance, clinical/nursing, medical and law. However, there are other backgrounds that healthcare risk managers come from as well. These include areas such as pharmaceuticals, biometrics, health law and others.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all profession. One can be trained to be a healthcare risk manager through education, practical experience or both.

Where are the jobs?

Healthcare risk managers find employment in a wide variety of organizations such as hospitals, insurance carriers and brokers, healthcare organizations, consulting firms, long term care, ambulatory care, hospice, office surgeries, physician practices, pharmaceuticals, governmental agencies, independent urgent care centers, and other organizations that support the healthcare continuum.

Why might I choose healthcare risk management as a career?

You might consider the healthcare risk management field if you enjoy challenging work, a diverse set of responsibilities, continual learning, are open to ongoing change, and can demonstrate an interest in and understanding of healthcare risk management job attributes.


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