How to Create a Culture of Compliance in Healthcare

Brian Williams, MHA, MBA
Nurse walking down hallway looking at paperwork

Companies love to talk about creating cultures that nurture employee growth and happiness. For healthcare organizations, part of that culture centers on compliance. It includes a focus on patient safety, building trust and reputation, boosting revenue, and acting ethically in everything they do. In this blog, we’ll explore how to create a culture of compliance in healthcare and the elements every organization should use as building blocks.

What is Healthcare Compliance?

Healthcare compliance is the process of following the laws, regulations, and ethical standards that govern the healthcare industry. It ensures that healthcare organizations and professionals adhere to guidelines that protect patient safety, maintain data privacy, and uphold the integrity of medical practices. Compliance is essential for operating within the legal framework, providing high-quality care, and maintaining the trust of patients and the community​.

What is a Culture of Compliance?

A culture of compliance in healthcare refers to a set of shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors within an organization that prioritize adherence to regulatory requirements, ethical standards, and best practices in the healthcare industry. It is an environment where every member of the healthcare team understands their role in upholding legal and ethical standards, and they actively work together to ensure that the organization complies with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

While it seems appropriate for individuals to comply with regulations and standards, creating a culture of compliance must include the ability and desire to report situations  to each other and to their organization. The processes put in place must also facilitate transparency and trust that reporting will not result in retaliation.


WEBINAR: Identifying Compliance Priorities To Make a Big Impact

Why Creating a Culture of Compliance is Critical for Healthcare Organizations

Patient safety is the heart of all compliance initiatives. Following established protocols and best practices minimizes the risk of medical errors and ensures patient well-being. Other reasons to create a culture of compliance include:

  • Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Healthcare organizations operate within a highly regulated industry. Compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations is not optional. A culture of compliance helps organizations avoid costly penalties and legal repercussions.
  • Reputation and Trust: A strong culture of compliance enhances an organization’s reputation and fosters trust among patients, employees, and stakeholders.
  • Financial Viability: Non-compliance can lead to financial losses, as healthcare organizations may face fines, loss of reimbursement, and increased operational costs.
  • Ethical Standards: Upholding ethical standards ensures that considerations, such as patient confidentiality and informed consent, are consistently respected.
  • Quality of Care: Compliance promotes the delivery of high-quality care by standardizing processes and reducing variations. Patients receive consistent and reliable care, leading to better outcomes.
  • Employee Engagement: When employees understand and are committed to compliance, they feel more engaged and aligned with the organization’s mission, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Building Trust & Mutual Accountability:  Many organizations say, “If you see something, say something.” Leadership has to get comfortable with making this easier for staff and the leadership team by setting an example and demonstrating how this makes the organization stronger.

How to Create a Culture of Compliance

Cultivating a culture of compliance in healthcare is not merely a legal requirement; it is a fundamental aspect of providing safe, ethical, and high-quality care. Healthcare organizations that prioritize compliance reap the rewards of enhanced reputations, improved patient outcomes, and increased financial stability. By incorporating these key components, healthcare leaders can instill a culture of compliance that permeates every level of the organization, ensuring the consistent upholding of the highest standards of care and ethics.

Make policies and procedures accessible

When employees can access policies and procedures at any time, they can review anytime they have a question. This transparency also demonstrates that following the procedures are a priority for the organization. Digital document and policy management offers robust options for creating, uploading, reviewing, and approving policies. Plus many also offer digital acknowledgement and electronic signing, which greatly simplifies compliance.

Prioritize training and education

Regular training and education equips employees with the knowledge they need to maintain compliance in any situation. Encourage employees to go beyond the requirements and complete courses in other topics that may be of interest to them — such as diversity or safety. Have you ever considered what your staff may say to an official from the OIG if asked about billing practices or patient services? 

Reward proactive behavior

Routine risk assessments, including mechanisms for anonymous incident reporting, such as hotlines or online forms, help identify potential compliance vulnerabilities. You may want to reward this type of behavior that encourages early detection and resolution of issues. Rewards could result in positive recognition or a modest financial award.

Regular monitoring and auditing of operations, financial transactions, and patient care processes

The maintain a culture of compliance, you need to be able to identify deviations from compliance standards. Organizations should have regular auditing schedules in place, as well as systems to enforce compliance standards and hold individuals accountable for violations, promoting fairness and consistency. Staff often have excellent insight and suggestions for improvement. Gaining feedback through continuous measures that are clear and understandable by staff can positively impact continuous quality improvement efforts.

Use technology to streamline compliance

Technology can make it much easier for employees to maintain compliance. Completing courses online, electronically signing policies, and uploading digital licenses upon expiration are all examples of ways that software streamlines compliance for employees. When organizations invest in compliance software, the staff will appreciate technology that makes their job easier.

Let MedTrainer Help Create Your Culture of Compliance

While it can get complicated, compliance must be a top priority for all healthcare organizations. MedTrainer offers tools that simplify processes and save time. Our compliance experts are ready to help develop and maintain your healthcare organization’s compliance programs. See how MedTrainer’s all-in-one platform can support your culture of compliance.