The Checklist Manifesto and HIPAA HITECH
I am a big fan of Dr Gawande and recently finished his book "The Checklist Manifesto". My first job in healthcare was selling orthopedic implants which entailed spending many hours in operating rooms assisting in surgical procedures. Dr Gawande's checklists which were modeled after the airline industry have shown remarkable results in reducing operating error and morbidity. This made his book particularly significant for me, but as I thought about it it also applies to what I do today. For the last ten years or so I have been involved in delivering accreditation and compliance consulting and training over the Internet and it struck me that policies, procedures, and forms are checklists. Used properly they are the business rules by which you run your business.
Rarely have I found someone who was excited about going through either the accreditation or HIPAA HITECH compliance process. Most felt it was unnecessary and intrusive and that they were running their businesses very efficiently already. Almost universally at the end of the process they stated that it had improved the operation of their business and I feel that most of this is around the power of a checklist.
The first step is getting agreement about what the rules really are. A lot of stuff is in "unwritten rules". What gets interesting is that when you start to write down the rules you realize that there is not always agreement about what those rules are among staff members. Getting a set of templates that meet the standards and then editing them to fit your business is the most efficient method. Acting under the supervision of a privacy and informaton expert, this documentation creates a policy, procedure or form that meets the HIPAA HITECH standards and becomes your business rule. Staff members then can act with assurance that they are doing the right thing, the right way.
If you think of this process as setting up checklists that meet the standards and create a more efficient operaton you will feel more positive about the HIPAA HITECH compliance process.
If you need help with this process our methods and technology can deliver everything you need, including a privacy and information security expert we call a Helper, efficiently and cost-effectively over the Internet.