As the importance of business continuity evolves, so does the demand to assess its efficiency. As a result, internal audit teams, which consider themselves to be the board’s “ears and eyes,” are playing an increasingly significant role. To be effective in this function, they must first gain a greater understanding of the process they are auditing as well as the justification for any judgments they may be examining.
Although business continuity is quite simple in many aspects, it is not a technical or scientific subject in the same way that security or quality is. For assessments, auditors want stable points of reference. Both professional understanding of business continuity management (BCM) and relevant audit abilities are required to successfully audit a business continuity program in the healthcare industry. The purpose of a BCM program is to protect the healthcare organization, guarantee that enough levels of resilience are in place to survive the effects of disruptions, and guarantee that BCM awareness and operational consistency are widespread throughout the business.
Listed below is how to prepare for a business continuity audit in the healthcare industry.
How to Prepare for a Business Continuity Audit in the Healthcare Industry
1. Assessment of Your BCM Program
It is important to examine the current state of the BCM program and how its basic components—such as governance, continuity risk assessment procedures, and business impact analysis (BIA)—are carried out as part of this process. The continuity risk assessment and BIA results will be used to define and implement recovery strategies and solutions. Throughout the continuity risk assessment and BIA activities, IT applications/systems and core business processes should be evaluated in terms of their overall enterprise impact. The results should also be used by senior management to evaluate and control enterprise-wide risk.
2. Strategy Design
Reviewing crisis management, business recovery, and IT disaster recovery procedures are all part of the strategy creation process. Organizations use these tactics to reduce or eliminate the risk of a business disruption. The audit’s goal is to see if the strategies are well-defined enough to effectively communicate and respond to events, as well as to quickly recover vital business processes and technology.
BCM methods should also be institutionalized into documented crisis management, business restoration, and IT disaster recovery plans, according to organizations. In this task, an audit will evaluate the content and structure of the plans, as well as whether the relevant roles and duties are described in the plans, and whether particular individuals have an executable set of tasks that they would carry out in the case of a business interruption.
4. Quality Assurance
The quality assurance process is intended to determine how well crisis management, business restoration, and IT disaster recovery plans have been tested. A testing program’s major goal is to validate the recovery plans’ contents as well as provide adequate assurance that the plans will allow the healthcare organization to successfully recover in a timely way.
Internal audit should evaluate the testing program’s design and execution, as well as whether plans are evaluated and updated frequently to address changes in the healthcare industry over time, and how those changes aid in the fast recovery of important healthcare processes and technology.
More Important Things to Consider
A business continuity audit can be as basic or as complicated as the organization seeks. Here are a few more things to remember when planning for a healthcare business continuity audit.
- Make a plan for the audit. The scope, process, and schedule of the business continuity plan (BCP) audit are all outlined here.
- Examine and summarize audit paperwork such as business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans, BIAs, emergency communications plans, and risk assessments. Update the information as required if there are any gaps in this documentation.
- Determine audit controls and generate work papers that reflect recognized business continuity indicators set by standards bodies, regulators, and legislators.
- Perform interviews with appropriate individuals from across the organization to conduct a business continuity audit.
- Complete a final audit report and inform relevant staff of the results. Interview results, documentation comments, and suggested actions to strengthen the business continuity plan can all be included in these conclusions.
- Based on your audit findings, create an action plan and a timeline to remediate the BCP.
- Verify that the action plan is carried out within the time range specified.
Internal audits can check if workers are aware of their roles in the case of disruption and whether they are taught to perform the planned procedures to effectively resume healthcare operations in a timely way as part of a business continuity assessment.