Value of Time Spikes in Healthcare Community
May 31, 2022
By Erin O’Hern, VP Strategic Initiatives
Like nearly all industries, healthcare is experiencing a crippling worker shortage, which threatens the availability to care for patients and financial stability for providers. It also endangers an organization’s good standing with examiners.
Compliance with state laws requires a minimum number of staffers on duty. What’s more, the number of must-do activities required by regulation continues to grow, making it extra challenging for staff to complete the day’s work while going above and beyond for patients.
It’s not surprising (and perhaps it’s even comforting) that short-staffed hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities more often put care ahead of compliance. Of course, pushing off compliance needs is a band-aid strategy that can’t be sustained for the long term, and any unspoken leeway examiners may have extended during the early days of COVID-19 are long gone.
Reengineering to address time and care challenges
In other words, healthcare governance, risk and compliance leaders, are in a pickle. They have some serious reengineering to ensure compliance can be managed efficiently even amid record high turnover and vacancy.
The integration of automation is among the low-hanging fruit tactics many of the healthcare GRC pros we talk to each week are thinking through. Here’s why…
The value of time is spiking. Basic economics dictates that when supply is low and demand is high, the value of whatever commodity being evaluated goes through the roof. Demand for employee time is incredibly high as the industry wrestles with pandemic policies, stressed staff, increased numbers and criticality of patience and rising regulation. In this environment, the prospect of delegating repetitive, manual tasks to machines and simplified tracking and reporting has become a highly attractive option.
Clinical time is compressed. For all of the good it ushered in, the Affordable Care Act came with some unintended consequences, namely the reduction of time with patients due to the migration to electronic care. As clinicians were required to move away from the highly mobile legal pad to a stationary computer space, they spent more time typing than consulting. Layer in all the GRC processes around safety and risk mitigation, and the imbalance of time becomes a significant issue. The democratization of mobile tech and more intuitive data entry systems has helped, but not all providers can onboard new technology at the same pace or scale.
A centralized system to manage policies, procedures and compliance tracking is critical. With the staff turnover rate high, centralizing the compliance obligations, vendor relationships, and incident reporting has never been more important. It allows a standardized system to maintain quality through the challenges of rushed employees taking on new tasks, training new employees, and the otherwise time-consuming and inconsistent aspect of tracking throughout the year.
Automation is accessible. The software behind the scenes of many GRC automation tools is more affordable and available than ever. The marketplace is exploding with iterative, user-centric options for GRC pros to consider as they work to save time and meet real-time electronic documentation and reporting needs. This is a double-edged sword, however, as many in GRC field are new to software procurement and onboarding, so it’s paramount to partner with an empathetic regtech vendor with a customizable solution.
Time is of the essence. As mentioned above, examiners are well back into the swing of things and expecting the same of their auditees. Fortunately, many of today’s GRC automation technologies are quick to onboard and also flexible enough to grow alongside the needs of the provider. ViClarity GRC, for instance, is built in a modular fashion so that GRC leaders can start with one service, such as vendor management, and add on another, like risk management, as time and need dictates.
As we continue to hear from clients on the changing needs during this unprecedented time in health care, its also helpful to learn from peers. GRC technology does not have to be difficult or complicated but the value of time and the need to focus on what matters most, the patients, is here to stay.
Services performed by ViClarity are compliance and not legal in nature, and do not form an attorney-client relationship or any of the protections attendant to the attorney-client relationship.