Creating a Culture of Compliance in Healthcare with Training

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

To create a culture of compliance, employees have to understand why the compliance training assigned to them is necessary and important. Christine Thomas, Manager on the Compliance Content Development Team at HCCS, A HealthStream Company, advised, “If you make them feel like they are all stakeholders, and that everyone in the organization is in this together, you can go a long way towards creating the compliance environment that is your goal.”

This blog post, the first in a series of four, is based on our webinar, “4 Necessities to Building an Indestructible Compliance Training Program,” in which compliance training experts from HCCS shared their insights and wisdom about using compliance education to strengthen the organizational approach to healthcare compliance. Effective compliance training can help every employee understand their compliance obligations and make them extensions of the compliance team.

Communication Sets the Tone for Compliance throughout an Organization

Christine Thomas shared that compliance training “helps to communicate the tone from the top, especially the commitment to compliance, which influences the overall culture of your organization.” Compliance training can foster better communication between staff and your compliance office, particularly if training occurs face to face. Even in online training, learners can get a sense of who your organization is and that you welcome their input. In this way training helps staff to become your eyes and ears—you train staff to detect suspicious behaviors or activity and to know what to do when that occurs.

Employees Need to Understand the “Why” of Compliance

Providing compliance training is a way to ensure your business is conducted ethically and within the boundaries of the law, and it reinforces your organization’s good reputation. Educating your organization also demonstrates a proactive approach to the detection and prevention of unlawful activity. Thomas recommended that “training should convey the why of compliance to improve acceptance.” She added, “Learners tend to be more amenable to imposed requirements when you have an understanding of why they exist.” Importantly, compliance training should impart individual responsibility that reinforces the obligation to be a good citizen and to be accountable.

Make Compliance Training an Essential Part of the Employee Experience

A strong culture of compliance underscores the duty to report as well and supports a policy of non-retaliation when an issue or concern is reported in good faith. Thomas explained, “Many organizations incentivize staff by making completion of compliance training and attesting to your code of conduct requirements for annual evaluation merit increases.” The goal is to create a culture with a sense of shared responsibility where employees feel, “We're all in the same boat regardless of our position.” Thomas insists that to be effective, “Training should help employees apply complex laws and regulations to their daily work, and it should include how they can access your policies and procedures for guidance.” What makes training much more meaningful is to “provide examples of illegal or suspicious behaviors that illustrate the kinds of things that you want reported.”

Watch the full webinar here.

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