As part of our HIPAA requirements, we must do a security assessment of our systems and procedures. Audits are part of that security assessment and part of our requirements under HIPAA, but have you ever thought about using the audits as a management tool?
Often we think about doing the audits to complete the requirements and make sure we are following all the protocols, but we fail to realize that they also make an excellent management tool. Auditing how our procedures are being followed and really looking at the results can show us amazing things if we start looking at the whole picture.
By removing the mentality of right and wrong, we can start to see if our procedures are giving us the results we want. By using the audit to help educate our employees rather than punish them, we can promote an environment of learning rather than an environment of fear.
If you take a procedure and audit 10 items, and 9 items are wrong that might be the time to reevaluate the procedure and your education process about it. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are non-negotiable items that must be followed and sanctioned. However, the way we educate and explain these items is negotiable. What if you pick an area and create a separate audit plan for it? What if you really look at what you want achieved and see if that objective is being met? Use these results to not only help your employees and meet your requirements but to look at your management of them and see how effective that is.
Let’s change our thoughts about audits and see if we can use the results for more than just a checkmark on a requirements list. Let’s see them as a management tool that will help our whole team.
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