As a trail runner living in the upper Midwest I have a choice to make each winter. Either resort to the treadmill since everything is covered in snow, or find a way to adapt and embrace winter. When the snow flies, it is time to break out the snowshoes and run the same trails we ran all summer. Failure to pivot and adapt to the weather conditions leads to a long winter of treadmill running, and no one enjoys that!
Over the last two years, one message has rung loud and clear in the world of health care; failure to adapt is choosing to fail. Through staffing challenges, supply chain issues, and mandates of all kinds, some providers have found a way to not only survive the pandemic, but come out even healthier than they were before the pandemic started. The difference between the providers that came out healthy, and those who may still be on life support, is the ability to adapt. The days of five year strategic planning may be gone; the key to survival in the world of health care now is the ability to be nimble on a moment’s notice.
What is yet to be seen is whether providers’ compliance programs have shown the same level of adaptability. In many instances, the delivery of health care services is dramatically different than it was just 24 months ago. Telehealth, a remote workforce, the Great Resignation, have all put a great deal of pressure on the capability of an organization’s compliance program to address the risks inherent in the “new normal.” Risk assessment, while always an important part of the compliance program, has taken center stage as many of the models for service delivery changed very quickly. The focus may have been on getting a system up and running so services could be provided to people in need, but little attention may have been given to the inherent risks for fraud, waste, abuse, or the privacy/security of protected health information.
Take a look at the compliance program. Is it on the treadmill just doing what it has always done, or has it adapted to the new way of doing business and providing services? Break out the snowshoes and take a run in the woods.