How Employee Engagement Enables a Culture of Compliance in Healthcare

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Post By: Gerry Blass, President & CEO, ComplyAssistant, and Margarita Derelanko, MA, CHC, former Director of Compliance, Acenda Integrated Health

What does it mean to create a “culture of compliance?” It’s not so different from similar efforts around patient safety. But hanging posters about hand washing, or just saying nurses are permitted to speak up, is very different than creating a culture that truly empowers employees to act. You want your staff to not only adhere to security and compliance policies and procedures, but also be part of the broader team who advocates for compliance across the system.

Healthcare organizations simply cannot continue to rely on traditional training methods and call it day. Building a culture of compliance takes more than watching a video and checking a box. Your employees need to be engaged, to feel empowered, for a culture of compliance to thrive. And, there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun while you’re at it.

Let’s look at four reasons why engaged employees are essential in creating a culture of compliance.

  1. More productive, more value.
    As healthcare organizations, we should challenge ourselves to think of employee engagement as an investment rather than an obligation. Studies show that engaged employees are more productive and create more value. It stands to reason that staff who are involved in how an organization delivers security and compliance training, who are able to lead discussions about compliance, and who can help make decisions are more eager to promote the culture of compliance within their teams. Thus, security and compliance training held at the corporate level will be more impactful and transformational.
  2. A legion of advocates.
    We all deal with limited time and resources. It’s just not feasible to have a compliance team member on every floor, in every department or at every location. However, when you have truly engaged employees and teams, you create a legion of advocates who can act as your proxy – an extension of your team – for security and compliance in the field.
  3. No longer “caught in the act.”
    Sometimes, security and compliance training and enforcement can have a negative connotation. Do your employees roll their eyes when the annual HIPAA training comes around? Or are they fearful of making a mistake, or of reporting non-compliance activity? Though you do need a training program, and it does need to be enforced, the perception of the process can change. Try to focus on prevention rather than punishment. It takes time to change perception, but it can be extremely rewarding to build relationships with employees who actually learn and apply their knowledge for the betterment of the organization.
  4. A sense of belonging.
    Distance can be a challenge to creating a culture of compliance across a geographically dispersed organization, but you need to find the balance between online tools and in-person interaction. Make the investment to implement live security and compliance training, hold staff meetings and ask questions of the staff. With knowledge gained from face-to-face time, you can fit the training or solution to the team. When you spend one-on-one time with staff, you’re building relationships and getting them involved in creating the solution. Employees will react more favorably than with online tools alone.

You may be thinking, “We have standard HIPAA training in place, and it works fine.” That may be true, but there is always room for improvement. Why keep putting your staff through the same old dreaded security and compliance training? It’s not terribly engaging, and though it checks a box, it really doesn’t go that extra mile to create the culture of compliance you want.

Instead, try one (or more!) of these tactics:

  • Create a new training methodology.
    Since HIPAA can be cumbersome and confusing, create a new HIPAA training presentation that only features one policy per slide. With content provided in smaller, understandable chunks, it is easier for staff to digest and apply the information.
  • Start a Compliance Advocates Committee.
    Give your employees a platform to engage with their peers, create new training methods and share ideas across departments. Not only will this help build your legion of advocates, but your staff will feel empowered to develop compliance efforts that work specifically in their own areas.
  • Celebrate an annual Compliance Week.
    Let your employees be the stars! For Compliance Week, ask your staff to create their own security and compliance videos. Give them a scenario and watch them come up with their own story, sometimes in fun and quirky ways. Then, show all peer videos during Compliance Week. Not only is this a more engaged way to train staff, but we find that training and tips are generally rated higher than food and prizes for our Compliance Week! For more ideas, check out HCCA’s Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week coming up November 1-7, 2020.
  • Use gamification techniques.
    We know that people learn in different ways, so let’s extend security and compliance training beyond the annual video and associated test. Incorporate games into your training program. A few examples include photo hunts, stickers, and amusing rhymes that act as mnemonic devices that can help staff remember certain rules and procedures.

Creating and maintaining a culture of compliance is not easy, especially if employees are unaware of what they should know and how to apply it to their everyday work. Policies and procedures for security and compliance exist for a reason, but human nature and daily distractions will stand in the way of true comprehension. Employee engagement is the remedy. Call the meeting. Go talk to them where they are. Make learning fun. Your staff will come along for the ride and even become a driver (or a passenger) in your compliance vehicle!

About the Authors:

Gerry Blass (President & CEO, ComplyAssistant) brings over 35 years of experience in healthcare information technology. A former CISO, Gerry founded ComplyAssistant to provide software and service solutions for HIPAA and IT strategic planning.

Margarita Derelanko (MA, CHC, former Director of Compliance, Acenda Integrated Health) is a Certified Healthcare Compliance (CHC) practitioner with over 7 years of compliance experience. Most recently, Margarita served as a Director of Compliance at an integrated healthcare organization, overseeing an enterprise-wide compliance/privacy program.

3 COMMENTS

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  2. AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL CSHLEROSIS is the most common neurological disease that affect millions worldwide ,it is a motor neuron disease meaning it usually affects the nerve fibers that transmit impulses or electric signals responsible for movement of the limbs ( arms and legs ), muscle coordination and maintenance of the body’s balance and posture. The affected body parts thus loses sensitivity and mobility rendering the patient paralyzed often on one side of the body. It can occur when the neurons are physically or structurally damaged such as when they become swollen, inflamed, bulges out or broken, causing them to lose their elasticity and ability to transmit impulses a condition known as ANEURYSM which could be corrected through a procedure referred to as ENDOVASCULAR ANEURYSM COLLING OR COLL EMBOLYSATION a procedure that involves the passing of a CATHETER or a tube through the affected neuron to restore it’s shape , elasticity and ability to transmit impulses to parts of the body for sensitivity and mobility. It can also occur when the portion of the brain that controls motion known as the MOTOR CORTEX becomes defective or is not properly developed and hence not able to generate the required amount of impulses or electric signals to maintain the sensitivity and mobility of the body parts , this may also be corrected by implanting an ELECTROLYTE CHIP into that portion of the brain to induce the flow of signals required for motion and sensitivity. This electrolyte chip could be made of a CRYSTALLIZED and ACTIVATED SODIUM AND POTASSIUM CHLORIDE CHIPS that will then be stimulated after implantation to regularly release SODIUM or POTASSIUM ions through the motor neurons to be distributed to the body parts. The devastating effects of this and other neurological diseases such as ALZHEIMER, PARKINSON’S , DRAVET SYNDROM ( a rare and childhood epilepsy characterized by multiple seizures ) etc. equally demand new and groundbreaking curative techniques and technologies.

  3. ONCOLOGY is the study of the formation, development and treatment of cancer but the multiplicity and the diversity of this disease makes it prevalent and difficult to tackle ,however knowing the basic facts and symptomatic attributes of this disease could help devise more efficient methods for it’s prevention and treatment. For instance based on the knowledge that almost all cancers that’s about ninety percent are genetically induced meaning they occur in the absence or in the presence of a mutated gene popularly referred to as the ONCO GENE and technically known as TP-53 and the fact that all cancers are symptomized by INFLAMMATION, TUMOUR and SORE formation makes IMMUNOTHERAPY the most efficient method of preventing and treating cancer. IMMUNOTHERAPY is the technique by which the immune system is stimulated to produce a specific immune cell in required quantities over a period of time OR the artificial introduction of synthesized immune cells into the body to perform a particular function. As a point reference , the immune cells are generally referred to as the T-CELLS and are hereditary or genetic materials meaning they can be passed on from one generation to another and can be synthesized or manufactured in the laboratory through PROTEIN SYNTHESIS mechanisms.. Based on this knowledge at risk or vulnerable persons or early stage cancer patients after testing and screening could undergo IMMUNOTHERAPY to introduce TP-53 into their immune systems either by stimulating them or artificially in the required quantity to help prevent or fight cancer formation and development. TP-53 is the most referenced gene within the human genome due to the fact that it has been found to be absent in all cancer patients or present in a mutated form , it is known for it’s ability to fight and suppress TUMOUR in cancer and hence it’s introduction into immune systems of vulnerable or early stage cancer patients could help enormously in prevention and treatment of cancer. The next most referenced gene also an ONCO GENE is known as TNF and it’s known for it’s ability to attack and destroy cancer cells this could also be introduced into immune systems of cancer patients to help fight and destroy the cancer cells to prevent them from developing and spreading further. PROSTATE CANCER is a very common form of cancer mostly caused by the persistent exposure to and inhalation of toxic fumes or substances such as ASBESTOS, SILICA, CEMENT DUST, POLYCHLORINATED AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS TRICHLORO BIPHENOLS ETC. Upon inhaling these substances or being exposed to them over a long period , most of the genes becomes swollen and dysfunctional specifically in this case is the cholesterol transporting gene known as APOE ,when this gene loses it’s ability to transport cholesterol from one part of the body to another, the cells becomes exposed to free floating cholesterol or cellular cholesterol which triggers the over production of the male hormone known as ANDROGEN this causes the golf ball sized gland known as PROSTATE to over enlarge a condition known as PROSTATE HYPERPLASIS which consequently leads to prostate cancer development.. At risk or vulnerable persons could therefore undergo immunotherapy to generate enough APOE’S or introduce them into their immune system to prevent the formation of cellular cholesterol that could trigger the cycle of the formation of this type of cancer. IMMUNOTHERAPY by virtue of the fact that employs the use of the body’s own immune cells makes it a safer method compared to other methods that may involve the use of chemical compounds that may be foreign to the body and produce toxic by- products after digestion and assimilation with adverse health impacts. The genes or cells involved in this method of cancer prevention and treatment are capable of dividing and multiplying themselves I through MITOSIS thus prolonging the preventive and treatment effects. and since they can be passed on from one generation to the next , the preventive and treatment impacts could be inherited by vulnerable or at risk babies or generations making it a very sustainable method. IMMUNOTHERAPY therefore stands out as the most efficient method of cancer prevention and treatment.

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