Does Your Compliance Program Spark Joy?


Post By: Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC, President, Management Performance Associates

After 14 months of this pandemic, we’re pretty tired. Tired of working at home, tired of figuring out how to safely go back to work, tired of additional duties that COVID-19 brought to those who work in healthcare, tired of trying to keep up compliance in the midst of all this.

We are low on joy.

But there’s good news. With fewer social opportunities, we’ve also had more time to watch Netflix. If you’re like me, compliance ideas come at unlikely times – while walking the dog, driving to Target, or binge-watching Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix (or reading Kondo’s book – it’s sold 2,000,000 copies).

Kondo’s method that has inspired countless people to fill an entire box of 30-gallon Heftys with their unwanted possessions comes down to one fundamental question: “Does this spark joy for you?” Anything that doesn’t spark joy has to go.

What does this have to do with compliance?

Over time, compliance needs decluttering, too. Routines become stale. Training can become less relevant (and interesting). When we are surrounded by the same concepts and practices day in and day out, it can become mundane. Especially during a pandemic.

So I ask you: Does your compliance program spark joy?

If not, it’s time to rent a dumpster, declutter, and start fresh with new ideas.

Marie Kondo wouldn’t leave you hanging, and neither will I. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Look on your desk. Do you see that stack of healthcare magazines you planned to read, so excited when their glossy covers landed on your desk with a smack – now standing in a lonely pile under a cold cup of coffee and a half-eaten cobb salad, making you feel guilty every time you glance at them because now you will never find the time to catch up on all that reading? It’s time to fill a 30-gallon Hefty and haul them to the recycling bin. Start over. Schedule time for reading into your workflow and stick to it.
  • Think about your last Compliance Committee meeting, where you diligently recite your agenda items. Was your report met with blank stares – perhaps a yawn or two? Start over. How can you make your meetings more of a group effort? Can you engage Committee members with questions? By asking them to take turns making reports? How would the Compliance Committee members like meetings to be run?
  • Now think about your recent compliance reports to the Board. Do you review the same data on the same dashboard with little new information to report? Start over. Don’t ditch the dashboard – redesign it, incorporate new data, and set new goals.
  • It’s time to dig out your Code of Conduct. Has it gotten longer and longer and longer over the years so that now it’s so long, nobody wants to read it and we can’t really remember why we created it in the first place? Start over. Ask your Compliance Committee what principles guide your organization. Ask employees what information is most helpful to them day-to-day.

Finally, let’s put things in reverse. What does spark joy for you? Hang on to these practices. Expand them if it makes sense. And find new ways to spark joy.

If Marie tires of helping overwhelmed people declutter, I think she’d make a very engaging compliance officer.