Navigating Some of the Biggest Challenges in Healthcare Compliance: eBook
Compliance Officers, also known by some as “Guardians of the Healthcare Galaxy,” hold the key to one of the most important jobs in a healthcare organization. They are responsible for making sure that the high-quality care their staff provides is delivered within the guidelines set forth by multiple governing bodies. We’ve created this eBook filled with articles and best practices from thought leaders in the industry to help the guardians of the healthcare galaxy navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape.
As you read, you’ll find first-hand accounts from Compliance Officers, many of whom who share with us their experiences, from implementing new training programs to help staff remain compliant, to real-life scenarios and the downfalls of not maintaining a successful compliance program.
Articles in the eBook include:
- Data Defenders: Creating a Risk-Aware Culture
Healthcare continues to come under attack by cyber-criminals. According to Dr. Tom Pendergast of MediaPRO, “It’s not an abstract thing called ‘healthcare’ that’s under attack; it’s people, the flesh-and-blood employees, who would be unlikely to say cybersecurity is their top-of-mind priority.” Employees are often targeted because they offer the easiest and most direct path to the sensitive data that flows through all healthcare organizations. Today more than ever, it makes sense to turn employees into “data defenders.” Pendergast explains, “Imagine if every single employee believed it was easy and reasonable to participate in data protection. Collectively, we could be an impenetrable force. But how do we get there? More importantly, how do we help someone on the staff who doesn’t specialize in security or privacy learn how to protect data? Simply “checking the box” after completing a basic cybersecurity training module is no longer good enough.”
- Responsible Use of Social Media in Healthcare
In healthcare settings, the impetus to use social media is no different than in any other industry. When used correctly, it is an excellent tool that can increase awareness of hospital services, create a two-way dialogue with patients, families, and the community, and improve the patient experience. It is also a powerful communication tool that fosters easy collaboration between physicians and clinicians, is used in training, and helps organizations promote cultural standards, team building, and employee satisfaction and recruitment. At the same time, we are all aware of stories about the misuse of social media in the workplace. Ensuring responsible use of social media in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and other patient care environments, can be tricky, according to David Rosenthal, Vice President of Business Development for Compliance Solutions at HCCS—A HealthStream Company, which offers online compliance training and tracking solutions to healthcare facilities.
- Conflicts of Interest: Reducing Risk in the Age of Full Disclosure
When we think about conflicts of interest (COI) in healthcare, what comes to mind first may be a watershed event. All the elements were there: a major drug study, incomplete reporting of data, data oversight by someone with at least the appearance of a financial COI, and a failure to disclose adverse effects of the drug. The resulting scandal damaged the reputation of a leading medical journal and a once-highly admired pharmaceutical company, costing the company over $5 billion in settlements. COI exists when a person could derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in his or her official capacity, but do all COIs require redress? According to Bill Sacks, co-founder of HCCS—A HealthStream Company, “Relationships among physicians, hospitals, and the medical industry are important. Industry contributes to medical education, funds clinical trials, and provides medications for the indigent. In short, they support the teaching, research, and clinical missions of academic medicine.”
- Data Based Decisions Improving Patient and Healthcare Outcomes
Do you remember a time not too long ago when all of us in the U.S. healthcare industry thought we had the best clinical outcomes in the world? We were paying almost twice as much as other developed countries, but certainly the care in the United States was worth it, right? I still remember my shock upon learning that, compared to 10 other high-income countries, the U.S.:
- Has the lowest life expectancy, at 78.8 years, compared to the other countries where life expectancy ranged from 80.7 to 83.9 years.
- Has the highest infant mortality rates, with 5.8 fatalities out of every 1,000 live births. For other countries, the average infant mortality rate is 3.6 fatalities for every 1,000 live births.
The same illuminating experience occurred with the collection of national CAHPS data. We all thought we were delivering an exceptional experience of care to our patients until CMS provided the comparative data to show how each healthcare organization in the country really measured up against each other. In both these examples, the power of comparative data was both enlightening and compelling. By seeing how we compared to other countries and other U.S. organizations, healthcare executives became aware of key strengths and weaknesses and came face-to-face with numerous opportunities for improvement. Today, HCCS, a HealthStream company, is asking the same question when it comes to regulatory training and compliance effectiveness. Do you know how your programs compare to those of other healthcare organizations? If you knew how you stacked up to others in these two areas, do you think you might alter the decisions you are making?