The ever-changing dynamics of the healthcare industry warrant ongoing re-evaluation of ethics policies among staff, medical professionals, provider organizations, and even patients. And to keep up with these ebbs and flows, many hospitals, private practices, and healthcare companies are flocking to adopt ethics hotlines to help. If you’re not leveraging the many benefits of an ethics hotline for your healthcare-related organization, these are the key advantages you’re missing. And it may solidify your decision to add a compliance hotline and whistleblower policy to your ethics guidelines.
Healthcare Happens 24/7
Because healthcare isn’t a nine-to-five business, operations have to have oversight and governance 24/7. Many healthcare managers and HR administrators recognize that an ethics hotline keeps much the same hours. With a hotline in place, anyone can phone in a concern or violation at any time. And whether an issue comes to light at one in the morning or three in the afternoon, your organization will receive the alert, allowing you to move forward with an investigation and policy enforcement measure.
Compliance Violations Can Be Observed by Anyone
Healthcare organizations follow strict compliance from a variety of governing entities, like the CDC and the FDA. Violations of these compliance requirements will occur on an individual level, usually during the routine day-to-day workflow. Having an ethics hotline in place, which encourages anyone to report a concern, means you’ll always have delegates watching and raising their hands when these violations occur.
Ethical Conduct Violations Can Be Reported Anonymously
Another key benefit of having an ethics hotline in place is the anonymity of the reporting process. Most employees and staff will refrain from reporting concerns if they feel they might be subject to retaliation. By removing the identity element of the reporting process, everyone will be more intent on calling out ethical conduct violations when they see them.
Legal Violations Are Costly
Ethics hotlines can be the added layer of protection, safeguarding against legal or more significant violations that otherwise could be far more costly. Ethics violations that also challenge legal statutes can result in fines and litigation. However, if you have an ethics hotline available for early detection and reporting of such missteps, your healthcare organization can seek swift action and remedy. More importantly, knowing when a violation has occurred also allows you to lay in the necessary framework to prevent it from happening again.
Consider an Ethics Hotline for Your Healthcare Organization
When your organization’s policymakers sit down to amend or improve existing ethics policies, there are key actions most address first. They include:
· Developing and implementing written policies and procedures
· Delegating a compliance officer or committee for oversight
· Rolling out effective and ongoing ethics training and compliance initiatives
· Improving the flow of data, information, and communication between individuals, departments, and groups · Conducting audits and reviewing ethics and compliance metrics
An ethics hotline can be effective in achieving your ethics goals as a tool to facilitate all of these strategic steps. And it’s why so many healthcare entities are turning to hotlines as a primary tool for ongoing ethics enforcement and improvement.
When your healthcare organization is ready to embrace the many benefits of an ethics hotline, let Ethical Advocate be your partner!