How Learning Solutions Reduce Risk

Reduce Risk

Especially for Busy Healthcare Companies

Healthcare compliance is complex. LHT empowers busy companies by creating innovative learning solutions that reduce risk. 

But, how do learning solutions reduce risk? 

Effective learning solutions reduce risk by: 

  • Mitigating a company’s unique risks
  • Explaining critical compliance concepts in plain language 
  • Presenting relevant policies alongside real-world situations 
  • Embedding compliance in business practices
  • Supporting a culture of compliance

Risk Assessment Integration 

Well-designed training programs, compliance communication initiatives, and other innovative learning solutions reduce risk for companies by integrating with their existing or developing risk assessment activities. 

A healthcare company may take a formal, annual approach to analyzing compliance risks across healthcare business units and departments. Or, they may elect to assess compliance risks as they come up during product development, marketing, or sourcing decisions. 

For example, a new pharmaceutical manufacturer may determine they have off-label risk exposure as healthcare professionals request information about the off-label use of products. Or, perhaps, a well-established medical device manufacturer determines they have a rising anti-corruption risk as their supply chain expands globally. 

No matter how risks are identified, they will require a comprehensive mitigation strategy to reduce the likelihood of issues occurring, and minimize its impact should it occur. 

Learning Is a Risk Mitigation Technique 

Learning is a risk mitigation technique. Training can be used to mitigate risk by: 

  • Providing proactive awareness of new regulations, industry codes, compliance policies, or guidance 
  • Updating training to address reported concerns or actual misconduct 
  • Responding to the launch of a new product, new indications for use, or acquisition activity
  • Incorporating new scenarios and real-world examples based on newly identified business challenges

When a healthcare organization is aware of a potential risk, establishing a related training plan demonstrates the organization acted in good faith. It shows the organization tried to ensure employees, contractors, and/or relevant third-parties were armed with the knowledge needed to comply, ask for guidance, and report concerns. 

Training shows that an organization, at minimum, acted in good faith.

Training Is a Guide to Compliant Future Actions 

Training can also serve to guide employees to more-compliant future actions. 

Imagine the sales rep who violates a policy on healthcare professional meals and hospitality. Rather than relying solely on a terse email, consider providing a 5-minute microlearning course that can easily be completed on their mobile device along with a readily-accessible interactive infographic. 

This reinforces the key elements of your policy and why adherence is important. It goes a long way in shaping future compliant behavior, thus mitigating the risk. 

External Authorities Look Favorably on Learning Analytics  

Since training is viewed as both a preventive measure and a solution to compliance issues, unique and engaging learning solutions should be considered a primary risk reduction method. 

External authorities view training as both a preventive measure and solution to compliance issues.

One of the best and most effective ways of reducing the risk of expensive employment-related lawsuits is to provide consistent and regular training, according to a leading law firm. External auditors often request training records related to a particular issue as well. Additionally, most Corporate Integrity Agreements or Deferred Prosecution Agreements contain extensive training requirements. 

In its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance, the U.S. Department of Justice considers appropriately tailored training and communications a hallmark of a well-designed compliance program. The guidance states the role of prosecutors have in assessment of compliance training. 

“Prosecutors should assess the steps taken by the company to ensure that policies and procedures have been integrated into the organization, including through periodic training and certification…Prosecutors should also assess whether the company has relayed information in a manner tailored to the audience’s size, sophistication, or subject matter expertise

Prosecutors should also assess whether the training adequately covers prior compliance incidents and how the company measures the effectiveness of its training curriculum.” 

Learning analytics and effectiveness assessment go well beyond traditional Learning Management System (LMS) completion reporting though. Use of learning analytics tools show proof of compliance knowledge transfer through training effectiveness measurement tools and training data visualizations. 

Training Helps Explain Compliance in Simple Terms 

Healthcare compliance is nuanced and each healthcare company has its own unique culture, business model, and risks. It requires expert guidance to interpret laws, build policies, empower employees, and connect with business partners to help drive commercial success in a compliant way. 

Successful healthcare compliance training, though, must explain these concepts in an engaging format that all team members can understand

Sales reps, marketing staff, managers, quality engineers, medical liaisons, and other team members are busy. Compliance, while typically recognized as important, is not often top of mind. In business, time equals money. It is a business imperative that compliance training be engaging and effective. Compliance learning solutions, such as eLearning or compliance animated videos must be quickly be understood and memorable. Compliance training and communications must contain clear messaging, be targeted to the right groups, and presented in simple, clear language without overly complex legal descriptions. 

When compliance is explained in an uncomplicated manner, clarity increases and risk of confusion, information overload, and topic apathy decreases. 

When compliance is explained simply, clarity increases and risk decreases.

Realistic Practice Prepares for Employees for Everyday Compliant Action

Finally, learning solutions reduce risk by presenting relevant policies alongside real-world situations

The famous scientist Louis Pasteur once declared, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” This sentiment applies to using training to reduce the risk of non-compliant actions, too. If employees prepare themselves for nuanced situations where compliant business decisions are not black and white, they are more likely to act in accordance with company policies and ethical guidelines. 

Compliance violations are not typically bold and egregious. They are often subtle, built up over time by poor communication, questionable business decisions, or careless mistakes. Correspondingly, compliance learning solutions must encourage employees to practice real-world conversation, decision-making, and documentation in a safe space.

Employees must be prepared to navigate and act compliantly within the gray.

Anticipate Risks, Help Reduce Them with Training 

Ultimately, training becomes a key component of a comprehensive risk management streatgy. Innovative learning solutions reduce compliance risk as a central component of company risk management. 

Well-designed training is a science as well as an art. The potential costs of poor training efforts—disengaged employees, unaddressed risks, regulatory non-compliance, and wasted resources—can be significant. Great compliance training is not only crucial to the success of an effective compliance program, but to the long-term success of a business. 

By Lauren Prodouz
| February 7, 2022
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