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Is it Possible for the Compliance Department to be Proactive?

Lessons Learned from the 2014 HCCA Compliance Institute

We were honored to participate in the Compliance Conference hosted by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) this past weekend. It was held here in our backyard of San Diego, and given the topics of the conference we felt it was a natural fit. The attendees were focused on staying abreast of the new developments in compliance law and risk management in the digital age.  Unfortunately not too many of the compliance officers were interested anything other than failure tracking.

The compliance officers want their co-workers and organization to stay within the regulatory bounds, however they are not focused on systems that can automate the process. I’ve always struggled to grasp that disconnect. Instead of being proactive they are more focused on the reactive steps to take once a compliance violation occurs.  Now to be fair this is an organizational issue, and the operational budget allocated to the compliance department is paltry at best.

It is in the best interest of the industry to get the compliance departments to be more forward thinking and involved in the proactive solutions. In our past experiences the compliance department is not brought to the architecture and planning phase of a major software application project. Rather they are brought in for quality assurance (QA) towards the project’s completion. This is an absurdly backwards approach. The compliance department should be pushing to get a seat at the decision table when it comes to new technology development projects and enhancements. It is their subject matter expertise that will help technology solution vendors build proactive platforms to keep healthcare organizations within the bounds of digital compliance regulations.

Patient Engagement SolutionsWe came to the conference to demonstrate ways the compliance professional can ensure their digital content is compliant and to raise the level of engagement with their audience without fear of regulatory backlash. Our solutions do not alert the compliance department when something goes awry (this was the main gist from the majority of the technology exhibitors at the conference). Rather, our solutions are proactive and keep those issues from occurring in the first place as well as providing an active workflow to isolate and complete necessary regulatory reviews. In order to build these forward-looking systems the compliance department needs to be involved in the planning. However it was my sense from talking to a number of them that even though they agree, the institutional mandate is for them to only focus on the problems not the solutions.

Compliance regulation is necessary, yet simply spinning it on its head puts a much more optimistic light on the subject. We all know compliance regulations and requirements need to be a major component to any technology solution adopted within the Healthcare market. Automated systems will decrease the compliance risks, simplify the process and minimize the headaches, which should ultimately be the goal of the compliance department. Now it’s time to fund the solution, not pay the fine for screwing up!

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