We’ve all had those days at work, where we’re typing away and suddenly we have a bout of crisis. “What is it all for?” we cry out loud to the startled looks of curious co-workers. Well before you go ahead and quit your job to live out your dream of being a lion tamer, we want you to know just how important–nay, vital–healthcare compliance is.
On the surface, you may not be in the thick of things–cutting people open, pumping chest or yelling “clear” before applying defibrillator paddles to a patient–but your role, believe or not, is just as critical. We know that it may seem like another day another policy and procedure to update or add to the pile, but every rule, policy, and procedure plays its role in improving the quality of care offered by an organization and in turn, patient safety. You, as the keeper of it all for your organization, are integral to seeing this through. So, stop banging your head against the wall and reach for your cape, think of cool superhero name, and let us tell you how healthcare compliance saves lives, too.
Hospital-acquired infections account for approximately 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 7-10% of all hospitalized patients experience a hospital-acquired infection. While it may seem simple, obvious even, basic hand washing is the single most effective method to reduce the spread of common infections. Unfortunately, in a healthcare setting with hundreds of patients with compromised immune systems, poor hand hygiene can pose a serious risk to the safety, health, and lives of many.
Policy and procedures that mandate hygiene behaviors and prevent the spread of HAIs are critical to have for every hospital, as proper execution can have a significant impact on creating a safe environment for both patients and staff. Hand hygiene is just one of the many policies and procedures you can implement, read our blog: 10 Must-have Infection Control Policies to discover more preventative actions you can take.
IT Healthcare Compliance
Today we live in an age in which patient data is incredibly sensitive. With the growing number of breaches experienced by healthcare facilities throughout the nation, so too have the number of regulations put in place for our protection. A single breach can cost an organization millions in fines, not to mention damaged reputation and the financial losses that they can result from it.
So what does this have to do with saving lives? Well, while security attacks don’t impact life-saving treatment directly, a breach can restrict doctors and nurses from vital information needed to save a life. As such, ensuring your staff are aware of all the policies and procedures regarding IT safety can go a long way in protecting your organization’s information. One method to achieve this is outlining lessons that can be learned from past attacks to provide a broader understanding of gaps that should be filled.
Education and Training
It may seem trivial, but this is by far one of the most important things you can mandate as part of your compliance program. Having a thorough and well thought out program can be the difference between meeting standards and not. An important step in training that most programs tend to leave out or forget is documenting comprehension that can be achieved through short quizzes or attestations on your policy and procedures management platform. It goes without saying that by equipping staff with the right knowledge can empower them to jump into action when need be, in case of emergency. What’s more, doing it this way can provide you as compliance officer the peace of mind you need in knowing that the staff at your organization are all equipped with the knowledge required to keep patients safe and healthy.
There are a multitude of other ways in which compliance plays a part in saving lives. Namely policies and procedures that center around improving quality of care, which in turn impacts safety. Whether you chose to believe it or not, when it comes to saving lives, every little bit counts and your role in it all is just as important as the doctor holding the scalpel. So, while perhaps this superhero story won’t be flying off the shelves at a local comic book store or be a big blockbuster smash any time soon, don’t underestimate your power in the grand scheme of things.
Tell us in the comments, what would your compliance superhero name be?