The complexities and demands of regulatory compliance management often leave healthcare leaders feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. But, when you’re doing it right, the value is there.
“If companies can find the balance point of efficiency and effectiveness — that sweet spot where a compliance program is both preserving and creating value — the cost of compliance can double as an investment in an organization’s future.” – Forbes
Regulatory compliance in healthcare is a delicate, high-stakes balancing act.
A successful regulatory compliance program not only ensures your practice follows all rules and regulations, it also provides opportunities for refining and enhancing operations.
Today’s successful healthcare organizations are approaching regulatory compliance with a positive mindset and viewing it as a golden opportunity to improve, rather than as a burden. When your organization adopts this mindset, you’ll find yourself leading a compliance program that is the bread and butter of your thriving organization.
What Is Regulatory Compliance in Healthcare?
Regulatory compliance in healthcare is following the rules and guidelines set forth by many different regulatory agencies to ensure the standards established for the healthcare industry. Maintaining compliance often includes employee training, documentation (of seemingly everything), implementation and updating of policies, testing procedures, and ensuring patient care staff are appropriately licensed and credentialed.
Of course there are stiff penalties and legal headaches for noncompliance, but beyond that, patients feel more comfortable knowing that they’re receiving care from a well-run, professional operation, while staff members perform their duties with greater confidence when they know that they’re operating within a compliant framework. By prioritizing compliance, you can take your organization to new heights of success and build a reputation as a trusted and respected healthcare provider.
Benefits of Healthcare Regulatory Compliance
Despite perceived barriers, the advantages of implementing healthcare compliance initiatives far outweigh any potential downsides. Here are some of the distinct benefits healthcare providers enjoy when they adopt and implement better compliance practices:
1. A Selling Point for Patients
Compliance ensures proper practices and patient safety, which lead to higher patient satisfaction scores and lower infection rates. In an age where social media and online reviews can make or break a reputation, these numbers are very important.
Plus, earning accreditation from organizations such as The Joint Commission signifies to patients that your facility has met even more stringent standards. This can result in more patients and providers choosing your facility, which prove the value of compliance and the right balance of cost and return on investment.
2. A Selling Point for Staff
Employees want to come to work in a safe environment where transparency and improvement is valued. The policies, procedures, plans, and training required for healthcare regulatory compliance build the culture of safety where employees thrive. When these documents and policies are easily accessible, employees are informed when regulations change, and healthcare-specific online training is available, staff will want to stay at your facility. Staff also love the greater transparency and ability to voice their safety concerns that comes with an easy-to-use and accessible incident reporting process.
3. Spotlights Solutions to Problems
Transparency is required when facing strict regulatory compliance in healthcare. It should be seen not as a burden, but as an asset. As the Forbes article pointed out, the same insights that flag problems can also spotlight solutions. For example, with an online incident reporting system you can quickly assess the frequency and location of incidents and take action to correct them more quickly than with a paper process. The information in a digital report can help you implement the necessary enhancements to training programs, policies and procedures, or safety plans.
4. Reduces Legal Risks and Their Financial Implications
Compliance initiatives provide protection against serious legal risks and financial penalties. The healthcare industry is particularly susceptible to risks associated with data breaches and regulatory violations. Investing in compliance programs help healthcare organizations establish appropriate policies and training to safeguard against these threats, thereby ensuring long-term profitability.
5. Improves Operations and Patient Care
While compliance programs protect your healthcare practice, they protect patients physically, too. All the processes that satisfy regulatory requirements can be used for the company’s benefit to refine and enhance operations. For example, ensuring every location, department, and role are receiving the same, high-quality training will reduce time-sucking variation in practices, shorten overall patient stay, and prevent Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse. By investing in compliance initiatives, you are actively identifying potential risks and areas for improvement as part of your daily operations. With a strong compliance program in place, healthcare providers can address any issues before they become serious problems, helping prevent medical errors and other incidents that could jeopardize patient safety.
6. Levels the Playing Field
In many cases, healthcare facilities are competing for patients. Thanks to regulatory compliance, organizations are unable to engage in unsavory practices to win patients. Everyone should be following the same billing, coding, and telehealth rules, for example. Facilities that are prioritizing compliance and providing a safe environment will naturally attract more patients.
How Technology Improves Regulatory Compliance Management
As the Forbes article states, “Technological innovations introduced to aid regulatory compliance may also be used for better business outcomes.” An effective compliance software helps to reduce risk and identify areas for improvement, ultimately building trust with patients and organizational reputation.
By harnessing today’s technology and taking advantage of automation, compliance professionals can manage more, with increased efficiency and in less time. Manual record keeping and data entry by Excel spreadsheet or paper is out-of-date and limits transparency in healthcare compliance. Having electronic access to Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), company policies, safety plans, and reporting to track training progress, incidents, acknowledgements, and more, ensures all staff are informed and meet regulatory standards.
Maximize the Benefits of Regulatory Compliance in Healthcare
Despite the inevitability of regulatory reform in the healthcare industry, effective compliance management programs can help to ensure that organizations stay ahead of the curve. They’re building trust with patients, reinforcing their brand reputation, and avoiding potential legal and financial pitfalls. The benefits of a strong compliance program far outweigh the costs, making it a smart and sound investment for any healthcare organization looking to secure its future profitability.
Ready to take your compliance program to the next level? MedTrainer can help. Reach out today to learn more.