How To Get The Most Out Of Your Compliance Effectiveness Survey

A compliance effectiveness survey can provide powerful metrics to measure the performance of your compliance program. The most important determinate to gain powerful metrics is the use of the right compliance survey template. The use of the right compliance survey template will yield the necessary metrics to determine the strengths, weakness and the overall effectiveness of the compliance program. To get the most out of your compliance effectiveness survey, you must ensure you have a reliable and valid compliance survey tool and that the results can be benchmarked against your peers and yourself from previous years.

First, you must identify the type of compliance survey tool most effective in gaining the type of insight and metrics needed to examine your healthcare compliance program. There are two general compliance survey tools: (1) the Compliance Knowledge Survey and (2) Compliance Culture Survey. The two compliance survey tools both measure compliance program effectiveness but examine it differently. First, the Compliance Knowledge Survey assesses compliance program effectiveness by reporting on employees’ knowledge, awareness and understanding of the compliance program. Questions are designed to ask employees pointed questions about the seven elements of an effective compliance program with response options of Yes, No and I don’t know. The results reveal exactly what employees know and understand, as well as where more attention is needed.  Second, the Compliance Culture Survey measures employees’ perceptions and attitudes in evidencing the compliance culture of an organization. The Compliance Culture Survey examines compliance dimensions that focus on personal job satisfaction, compliance with laws and regulations, quality of care/service, employee communication and management and HR practices. Because the Survey is measuring employees’ perceptions and attitudes the responses are measured on a Likert Scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Second, the results of the survey must be effectively examined. There are two recommended ways to examine the compliance survey results: (1) Against your peers and (2) Against yourself. Benchmarking your compliance survey results against your peers reveals how well your healthcare compliance program stands up against other healthcare organizations. It is particularly helpful to identify compliance program areas that are below your peer’s average. Any below average areas would need immediate attention and are compliance risk identifiers. Conversely, above average compliance program areas are strong indicators to the Board of Directors, and to outside agencies, that the compliance program is effective. Benchmarking compliance survey results against your previous years’ results shows progression in the compliance program, both in strengths and weaknesses. Compliance program effectiveness surveys do not need to be conducted every year since changes in the results will be minor year-to-year. However, utilizing compliance program effectiveness surveys every three years or every five years will reveal measurable changes to employees’ knowledge and employees’ attitudes.

The only way to benchmark results against peers and your previous years’ results is through utilization of the same compliance survey template. If you are benchmarking against your previous years’ results the same survey must be used. In most cases this can easily be done. However, you must ensure that the compliance survey template does not change. Even rewording a question can affect how employees’ understand and interrupt the question. Therefore, before implementing a compliance survey template, that template must be well tested to ensure valid and reliable results are produced.  In the same way, to benchmark against peers, all healthcare organizations providing result data must use the same compliance survey template. The easiest, and perhaps the only way, to benchmark against peers is to engage a consulting firm or compliance survey tools vendor that specializes in healthcare compliance. Such firms and vendors can ensure that the same compliance survey template is used and that the result data is accurately computed. Additionally, these firms and vendors can provide invaluable insight, resources and efficiencies that could not be gained by conducting a survey with in-house resources. They have experience working with numerous healthcare organizations that vary in size and complexity.

Utilization of compliance survey templates are an efficient and low-cost option to gain powerful metrics about compliance program effectiveness.