More, more, more is the drumbeat heard by hospital CEOs across the country. More is expected of them (more profits, more compliancy, more security) while more demands are being placed on them (more regulations, more audits, more obligations). As more is being required of them, they are forced to rely on a strong team to support them in meeting the goals of the healthcare organization.
This is especially true in the area of compliance and privacy. With database breaches and healthcare reforms, the CEO must be able to trust and delegate to a strong compliance and privacy officer (CCO or CPO). According to Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review, a successful compliance program starts with an “effective compliance leader.”1 The executive has to be able to manage and monitor a comprehensive compliance program that includes, at the minimum, the following elements2:
- Written policies, procedures, and standards of conduct,
- Effective education and training programs,
- Open lines of communication,
- Policies covering disciplinary standards,
- A system to respond appropriately to offenses, and
- Audits and evaluations to monitor compliance and improve problem areas.
However, CEOs beware. Just when you need them the most, compliance professionals could be the hardest to find. The regulatory environment in the US is driving the demand for compliance officers across all business sectors. In a quote given to The Wall Street Journal, Cory Gunderson, who heads the risk-and-compliance practice of research consulting firm Protiviti, stated “We’re in a battle royal for talent in the compliance space, across the board.” According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported in the same article, the U.S. unemployment rate for compliance professionals was more than a percentage point below the national jobless rate.3
Finding the right compliance officer is just the start. A CEO must help create a work environment that gives the CCO the opportunity for success. According to a survey of compliance professionals conducted by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and the Health Care Compliance Association, compliance officers are under a great deal of stress. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said job-related worries woke them up at night, and 60 percent considered quitting their jobs because of that stress. When asked what their greatest cause of stress was, the reason given most often was “keeping up with new laws and regulations.”4
IntelliCentrics can help alleviate some of that stress. With , compliance officers have access to the most up-to-date information regarding new rules and guidelines from government and regulatory agencies. Plus, CCOs can benchmark their facilities against other facilities to determine areas of improvement.
The effort to find and retain an effective compliance officer is worth it. Though the CEO owns the ultimate responsibility, the top executive must be able to rely on the extensive knowledge of the compliance office to make the right decisions—decisions that will affect patients and the entire organization. The CEO can rely on them to react quickly to new information, including “rules relating to accountable care organizations, shared savings programs, value-based purchasing and effects of healthcare reform,”1 all while working to improve a patient’s healthcare experience. Implementing tools like can reduce the compliance officer’s stress and help them sleep at night.