Having spent the majority of my career working directly with accreditation and certification bodies I have a tendency to get completely tuned in to marks of quality that appear in everyday life. My oldest son found it very odd, for instance, that on a recent hospital visit I spent a more than appropriate amount of time studying the American College of Radiology certificates on the department walls. He also didn’t find it amusing when I stated that I hoped the technician had graduated from a JRCERT accredited program.
Similarly, my wife was more than a little confused as to why I came home from my annual physical with a picture on my phone of the giant banner that appeared in the physician’s office declaring their recent recognition for NCQA PCMH. But it struck me, because for the first time, it wasn’t just an accreditation certificate on the wall, or a stamp of approval on a product. My doctor’s office wanted every patient that entered that waiting room to know that they were recognized by NCQA for Patient-Centered Medical Home. They even had a trifold brochure that explained what it meant to me as a patient.
By nature of my profession I was more interested in what it meant to the healthcare staff and although each had a different perspective they all proudly offered that they work very hard to achieve recognition and compliance because it shows that the quality of service they provide is top-notch.
In talking with the staff I tried to dig as deep as I could, just so that I could have a better understanding of what it takes to foster a culture of compliance in a medical practice. I hope I didn’t drive them too terribly crazy with all my questioning but here’s what I gathered:
- The staff is trained regularly, as part of their job, on standards and guidelines as they are constantly being updated
- The practice conducts regular internal audits or self-assessments to find any areas of risk or non-compliance
- All of their policies and procedures are well documented and everyone knows exactly where to find them
- The practice promotes regular communication about compliance and quality in order to keep the topic top-of-mind
It all boils down to open communication, regular self-assessment, training and well documented procedures. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, but these common components are the building blocks for every organization that achieves a stamp of quality.
If you would like to discuss cost-effective ways to organize your quality and compliance activities, or see a demo of compliance and quality assessment tools being utilized by your peers, don’t hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, keep a watchful eye out for marks of accreditation, certification, and quality that appear in your everyday life.