Best Practices for Enhancing and Changing Healthcare Compliance Training Programs

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

In the December 2017 issue of Compliance Today, the monthly magazine of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), Misty Bridwell, CHC, Chief Compliance Officer at One Step Diagnostic, Inc., in Houston TX, acknowledges that many employees respond to required compliance training negatively. She describes a typical employee in this situation as “disconsolate… unable to see past extraneous work and a mountain of confusing information.” Bridwell insists, however, that we “can transform compliance training… into a dynamic practice that unites employees towards a common goal: preventing negligent acts on non-compliance [if we] promote enthusiasm around compliance with the constructive use of incentives: creative communication, rewards, recognition, and elevated status.”

Creative Communication

Bridwell suggests that traditional and standard training measures are only a start for your program, offering that organizations should “reintroduce information to build a longer, collective memory of good compliance practices.” Some ways to do this include “daily emails, brain games, and trivia.” Another option is to place “reminders of your compliance mission statement in unexpected forms or places.” Bridwell recounts that she placed slips of paper with messages in balloons before blowing them up and writing “Pop Me!” on their outside. Other guidelines offered by Bridwell include the importance of using humor, especially in some compliance role-playing exercises, and to “appoint a staff member as an OIG representative whose job it is to uncover acts of non-compliance.”

Elevated Status

Bridwell asserts the value of identifying and acknowledging your employees who have “demonstrated superior knowledge [in compliance] and the ability to train others.” These high-performers are essential to compliance success and may merit some addition to their titles that show their achievement and value and may “provide extra layers of meaning and fulfillment to their roles.”

Rewards and Recognition

Bridwell affirms that the “most direct way of providing incentives to employees is distributing physical rewards” like gift cards, longer lunch hours, extra paid leave, special parking, etc. She adds that “playful competition can be just as rewarding,” endorsing trophies, totems, or mascots that can be handed among compliance achievers. Ultimately, she shares that “nothing is more effective in helping a trainee feel valued than timely, authentic recognition of good work, whether verbal or written, public or private.”

Bridwell closes by insisting on the importance of creativity and tell readers that “compliance training doesn’t have to be dull.” Most importantly, every effort to enliven the compliance training process is going to have the salutary effect of keeping “the message to “Do the Right Thing” foremost in employees’ minds.”

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All quotes are taken from:

Bridwell, Misty, CHC “Reframing compliance training by a well-formed incentives plan,” Compliance Today, December 2017, (pp. 70-1).