7 Keys For An Effective Compliance Program

HIPAA Compliance application and stethoscope on a desk.

Various industries should have effective compliance programs in place. Having one is advantageous because it reduces the potential risks of errors that can expose a company to litigation and provides peace of mind during a federal or state investigation.

The healthcare industry is highly regulated due to the challenging environment. Due to the current breaches in healthcare data, the need to implement an effective compliance program is crucial. All health-related companies and providers should take the necessary measures to protect private and sensitive patient data by maintaining Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. Failure to meet the standards will result in severe penalties, including fines.

If you want an effective compliance program, a good start is considering a reliable HIPAA compliance service, such as https://techumen.com/hipaa-compliance-services/ to comply with HIPAA obligations. 

When establishing an effective HIPAA compliance program, there are crucial elements to consider. Here are some key elements to keep in mind when implementing an effective compliance program. 


1. Implement Standards Or Policies  

Developing and implementing written standards or policies will serve as the foundation in any industry. Generally, the outline should cover the basics of the compliance program, disaster recovery plan, code of conduct, training, and action plans, to name a few.  

The workforce must strictly adhere to all the policies and procedures in place. Essentially, the policies should align with the mission statement along with any applicable laws and regulations. When developing policies, it should be in a proactive and forward-thinking manner.

Make it a point to include key management team members while creating the policies and procedures. Getting their feedback on making changes is one method of creating a concrete culture of compliance. Don’t forget that policies and procedures should be evaluated regularly to keep them up-to-date with current regulatory changes and to reflect the company’s culture as it evolves. 


2. Establish A Compliance Team With Designated Employees  

A compliance team will play an important role in ensuring compliance. At this point, you need to choose a compliance officer along with the core members.  

It’s crucial to establish the roles and responsibilities of each member of the compliance team. It’d be best to designate how often they need to hold meetings, the topics for discussion, and the manner of sharing information.  

There should be clear guidelines for how and with whom to convey the conversations and how everyone should participate in developing an effective compliance program. 


3. Make Regular Training And Education Opportunities Available

Even with a strict compliance program in which everything is documented, it might not turn out positive if your workforce isn’t familiar with the protocols you’re complying with. The main point in establishing and maintaining an effective compliance program is to provide education and training opportunities for your employees.  

There should be proper dissemination of the policies and procedures for awareness, and the workforce should receive adequate training on the program’s objectives and relevant policies. Make it a priority to offer HIPAA training to everyone in the organization, including management.  

Regardless of your organization’s size, it’s necessary to offer further training for the many policies and procedures applicable to any specific employees who require them to carry out their jobs efficiently. Furthermore, all training programs you provide must be monitored, documented, and followed up on.

4. Maintain Effective Lines Of Communications 

In any organization, open lines of communication play an important role in maintaining an effective compliance program. All employees should readily communicate any compliance issues. Employees shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions if they’re unsure about a procedure, policy, or potential compliance violation.

All policies and procedures should be easily accessible to all employees and should clearly describe ways of communication and who should be contacted about difficulties. 


5. Conduct Internal Auditing   

The inability to perform internal auditing can be a disadvantage because you lack a clear picture of the compliance program’s effectiveness. With this in mind, conducting internal audits regularly, ideally once a year, and developing action plans afterward is critical.


6. Clearly Define Disciplinary Procedures In The Company Standards

Outline a plan on how you want to enforce the HIPAA compliance program. It’s best to start with how you’ll train your workforce and execute the policies and procedures.  

It’s crucial to keep everyone in the organization up-to-date with any changes or if new ones have been published. Make sure to outline the disciplinary actions if an employee fails to follow the compliance program. 


7. Create Remedial Action Plans 

One way to ensure the effectiveness of your compliance program is to be ready to deal with any HIPAA violations and train employees to avoid errors in the future.  

When creating the remedial action programs, they should clarify how violations are pinpointed, confirmed, and managed. It should also include who must be notified and the disciplinary actions to take. The key point to remember is to confront both current issues while determining how to adjust the current program to avoid future issues.


Final Thoughts  

An effective HIPAA compliance program plays an important role in safeguarding healthcare data while reducing the risk of errors that can put an organization at risk for violations. Considering these key elements can help ensure an effective compliance program for your organization in the long run.