Many industries that undertake policy and guideline creation perform some type of risk assessment. It could be identifying and quantifying specific risks relating to a company and its stakeholders, or a broader mandate to assess risk and harm in the general population. Regardless of its purpose, the assessment, in turn, dictates the risk management process.
The process of risk assessment, and therefore risk management, is a prime candidate for the robust and rigorous methodology used in systematic reviews. Let’s take a closer look at what role systematic reviews play in the risk assessment and management process:
First, what is risk management and why is it important?
Risk management starts with a risk assessment. This is the step organizations take to determine hazards and harm. A credible risk assessment is underpinned by transparency. Once the hazards and harm are identified, it’s up to risk management professionals to develop the processes and guidelines to protect companies, stakeholders, and, in many cases, the general public from the risks identified in the assessment.
Consider it this way: risk assessment is gathering evidence, and risk management is using that evidence in a broader sense of decision-making. You can’t have one without the other.
How do systematic reviews come into play?
Systematic reviews provide a robust, rigorous method of collecting and synthesizing data. In the risk management process, credibility is paramount, and a systematic review is a great way to analyze data systematically and thoroughly.
Many of our risk assessment clients use systematic reviews as a major part of their workflow because they help guide every aspect of their research. They dictate how the assessment is performed and the engagement approach with various stakeholders in terms of their transparency in communication.
The challenge of bringing SR methodology to risk assessment
While it might seem like a no-brainer for risk management professionals to rely on systematic review processes in their work, you would be surprised to know that many in the industry are only just beginning to adopt these practices in their workflow. The reason for this is something we see all too often – a lack of time and resources.
For some risk management pros, systematic reviews were not part of their initial education or training. It was a relatively new concept that required further learning. And in many cases, that further learning just wasn’t possible due to time or resource constraints. The challenge becomes retraining and applying the ideas of systematic reviews to the unique evidence that risk management professionals are handling.
How systematic review software can help
As more risk management professionals are conceptualizing the use of systematic reviews in their workflow, the rise of specialized systematic review software is making things even easier and more efficient for them to complete reviews. Systematic review software integrates seamlessly into their risk management steps. Some of the benefits of using systematic review software for risk assessment and management include:
- Increased consistency across research teams
- More transparent and consistent processes
- Dramatic gains in efficiency through automation
- Improved collaboration
Once the role of systematic review is understood from a risk assessment standpoint, adopting the use of specialized software provides further structure and methodology – speeding up the process to save time and money.
The future of systematic reviews in the risk management process
For professionals in the risk assessment industry, gathering evidence and reporting on it is only going to get more complicated and fast-paced given the tightening regulatory requirements we are seeing across all industries. This means that systematic review software has become a “need” vs. a “nice to have”.