By Larry Lacombe
When it comes to maintaining regulatory compliance, education is oftentimes the most difficult part. Particularly in situations when staff are accustomed to doing things in a certain way, it can be tough to persuade the team to adhere to new compliance-related procedures.
However, with more than 629 discrete regulatory requirements across nine domains, it’s apparent why compliance education is so crucial. With so many regulations, there’s a lot to consider.
When staff are properly educated, healthcare facilities will find it much easier to comply with regulatory requirements. Healthcare executives should consider the following three recommendations to appropriately educate healthcare facility staff on regulatory compliance.
Regulatory compliance is a complex, long-term process; don’t put training off until the last minute. Instead, healthcare leadership should implement these education programs as soon as possible to ensure its success.
Programs should also be developed with intent in mind. Of course, the ultimate objective is to comply with all requirements; however, healthcare facilities should also consider the education’s other purposes. This will help to develop curriculum and provide staff with fine-tuned programs.
When compliance procedures aren’t standardized internally, it can be difficult to educate staff and ensure the entire team is following the same guidelines.
Leadership must start by breaking down any existing barriers. Oftentimes when a third-party group enters a facility to assist with regulatory compliance, staff are set in their old ways and unwilling to compromise. Still, it’s important for the facility to trust subject matter experts and the education process associated with compliance adherence.
Plus, it pays off to standardize facility processes. When following regulation of related procedures, facilities will often find they’re blown away by the sheer number of issues that have been identified. Moreover, they’re shocked by how much these identified issues would have cost. Staff must have the flexibility to adapt and accept new procedures.
Regulatory compliance is complicated. In order to safeguard a facility against errors and subsequent fines, an important part of regulatory compliance education is remaining open-minded and shifting plans as needed.
Sometimes after a process is set in place, facilities later find out there’s a more efficient way of operating. The important thing is to remain flexible. Leadership should always evaluate any sort of process or educational program following implementation and adapt as necessary.
Furthermore, adapting plans will help to increase transparency within facilities. When staff feel as if they’re part of decisions, they’re more likely to remain compliant. It will also help to develop the most effective programs and ensure regulations are followed correctly.
As you develop your regulatory compliance education, remember how important it is to properly educate staff and adhere to all regulatory requirements.
About the Author
Larry Lacombe is the Vice President, Program Development, Support and FM Compliance at Medxcel, specializing in facilities management, safety, environment of care, emergency management and compliance. Medxcel provides healthcare service support products and drives in-house capabilities, savings and efficiencies for healthcare organizations that, in turn, improve the overall healing environment for patients and staff. Lacombe leads the development and implementation of compliance programs that ensures 24/7 survey readiness for a national network of hospitals that Medxcel Facilities Management serves.