Developing a Strategic Plan for Compliance Training

By Greg Rider

Compliance training plan development in the healthcare industry is undertaken with the objective of accomplishing the overall compliance goals of the organization. These goals reflect the long-term vision of the organization as well as the need to meet industry-wide compliance standards and requirements.

Often, however, training plan development must take place in response to immediate organizational needs and decisions, or new industry-wide requirements such as a sudden decree from the OIG. Because of this, developing training plans can feel like an exercise in extinguishing brush fires. We can easily race from program to program, from flare-up to flare-up, and lose sight of the overall departmental and corporate strategies that should be driving our healthcare compliance training. What is needed is a strategic plan for compliance training.

A strategic plan reflects and advances the specific training goals of the organization and meets regulatory requirements over a determined period of time, akin to a Forest Management Plan, while effectively managing present-time organizational demands—the occasional but inevitable brush fire.

The following four steps can be utilized to develop such a strategic plan.

1. Identify the ongoing training goals and requirements of your department and organization. These are the goals we don’t want lost in the midst of our fast-paced efforts to meet immediate needs.

2. Identify the training programs and projects that were developed in response to present-time needs over the past year.

3. Evaluate how well the current training plan allowed for the integration of those present-time initiatives. This evaluation could include use of resources, such as time and staff. For example, did the implementation of a new training program negatively impact the delivery of existing programs? Were there not enough trainer hours available, as determined by the existing training plan, to actually deliver the new training program?

4. Identify and incorporate changes that can be made to the current training plan to more easily and readily meet immediate departmental, corporate, or regulatory needs or requirements. This is a strategic plan. In the example above, the number of hours determined necessary for training delivery could be a specified range of hours, thereby offering more flexibility to meet changing demands.

A Forest Management Plan that anticipates brush fires is a best practice because brush fires are not only inevitable, they are also integral to the ongoing health of the forest, clearing away undergrowth and creating room for future growth. A strategic plan for compliance training is a plan which continues the achievement of organizational compliance goals while successfully meeting present-time challenges, and as such is best practice for compliance training program development within healthcare organizations.

Let's continue the conversation and share best practices during my session at ATD TDI Conference.