Problem to Solve
In health care, decision-making without sufficiently clear and accurate data is a recipe for poor choices and costly mistakes.
Inadequate and inaccessible privacy investigation data was compromising analysis and decision-making for the compliance department of a major health system. This was a significant concern as this organization serves more than a quarter-million patients annually.
Instead of being able to access sufficient data for internal reports and presentations to the health system’s executive leadership, compliance leaders were forced to make do with incomplete input from an archaic data log and reporting system. This potentially impaired the ability of executive leaders to understand and act on compliance information.
Rather than continuing with an outdated data system and processes that no longer met the health system’s needs, the compliance department engaged Freed Associates (Freed) to improve its privacy investigation methodology and dashboard and reporting capabilities. These improvements were needed to ensure the organization is properly handling privacy incidents, reduce its potential risk exposure and the chance and expense of privacy-related litigation, and be prepared for any external audit of compliance records.
Strategy and Tactics
Freed began the engagement with a rapid series of subject matter expert meetings to discuss and determine the deficiencies of the department’s current privacy incident log versus the department’s desired reporting requirements. These meetings revealed several opportunities for improving the department’s handling of privacy investigations, including:
Client input for improving the PIT escalation framework, privacy incident log redesign, and reporting capability was incremental, as staff members regularly noted ongoing opportunities to tweak and/or add to these tools. This was a positive, as it meant that these tools would be tailored to the specific needs of the compliance department and health system.
The client was able to achieve all of its desired privacy incident log improvements. These results included:
Throughout this engagement, the client was reminded to plan for ongoing maintenance and sustainability of these new and enhanced privacy incident data tools, to ensure their ongoing relevance and usefulness.
By taking these important steps to improve its data system and processes, the compliance department significantly enhanced the health system’s ability to handle privacy-related incidents. This, in turn, reduces the health system’s risk exposure, minimizing the chance, time and expense of any privacy-related litigation and better-preparing the organization for an external audit of its compliance records.
Overall, this work illustrates the value of improving data quality and accessibility within any data-dependent health care department, and particularly so within compliance.
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