According to a report published in the National Library of Medicine, costs related to medical malpractices amounted to a whopping USD $60 billion.1 With increasing governmental investigations and audits, organizations can no longer afford to ignore health care compliance training. The need of the hour is to establish adequate procedures, policies, and processes to meet professional, ethical, and legal standards. Here are specific hallmarks of an excellent health care compliance training program.
Focus on Written Standards of Conduct
One of the critical elements in creating a culture of compliance is establishing a documented road map that will provide a sense of direction and guidance for all stakeholders. The right health care compliance training program will emphasize documenting procedures and policies to help set expectations and communicate the organization’s mission, values, and standards. Compliance policies must be integrated with other enterprise-wide documents such as the employee manual and the code of conduct to ensure that it is implemented in daily operations at every level. In other words, it is imperative that the organization ‘walks the talk.’
Focus on Ongoing Education
While designing a health care compliance training program, it must apply to the audience, engage in content, and communicate in a manner that resonates with the team. With rapid changes in healthcare policies, there is a growing need for ongoing programs rather than a once-in-a-year effort conducted merely to check the box. Employees should be able to complete supplementary education to keep abreast with updated and sometimes complex rules and regulations. However, these programs should be designed around their work schedules to avoid disruption.
Focus on Customizable and Realistic Content
Training modules should be tailored to address compliance risks specific to your organization for the best results. For instance, the program should consider applicable HIPAA regulations and how to adhere to them. Organizations that value improved patient outcomes will invest in training programs that provide realistic and practical exposure, so employees are equipped to make better real-time decisions. A well-designed program can help identify a team’s innate strengths while revealing knowledge gaps that need to be filled.
Focus on Open and Transparent Communication
A health care compliance training program should be designed to make employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns or clarifications. For instance, after the training, an employee should feel confident to report an irregularity without fearing retribution or retaliation. Quite often, violations of law go undetected as it is unreported. Employees may hesitate to approach the management unless anonymity and confidentiality can be ensured, at least to the degree allowed by the law. Proper training can help facilitate this culture of non-retaliation from the leadership and across various levels of the organization. Further, each complaint should be documented for follow-up and action to close the matter promptly.
Focus on Evaluation and Upgradation
Managing compliance risks is by no means an easy task. Audits, although often rigorous, help identify, address and prevent risks that could jeopardize an organization’s revenue and reputation. A health care compliance training program must be built based on the company’s ongoing audits or evaluations. Regular feedback from these evaluations can be used to fine-tune the training program so it offers corrective action plans which can be quickly implemented. The program should also have an in-built mechanism to track implementation to some degree so that the plans can be evaluated for effectiveness. Regular monitoring or self-policing at an operational level can help identify potential deficiencies and loopholes which need to be fixed.
Focus on Building a Culture of Compliance
A health care compliance training program should be focused on protecting the organization from fraud or violations which could lead to legal consequences. It should put mechanisms in place which will not only identify but also address security and privacy pitfalls. The proper training can create a company culture that promotes compliance as the norm and not a novelty. It will instill a sense of responsibility and accountability not only at the leadership level but down at every department and individual. A proactive program can help boost patient care and enhance employee retention in the long run.
Healthcare companies have a solemn responsibility to deliver exceptional services as they deal with life-and-death situations daily. Timely training can help educate and empower staff to effectively handle day-to-day activities without statutory violations. In the long run, this will lead to better patient care, high growth potential, and a better market reputation.