We are all taught at an early age to be creative. It is what makes humans unique. Chart your own path. Be your own Boss. You can do anything you put your heart into. Well, sometimes we miss the opportunities that are right in front of us. Namely, your competitor…. What?
Yes, that’s right. The importance of building a healthcare network doesn’t have to be lonely. Nor does it have to be divisive or secretive. In fact, as we recently learned from Aileen in blog 1 of our networking series, to broaden your network is valuable and it helps you realize you are not the only one struggling with the issues.
“The last place you would consider going are your friendly competitors. However, they, too are looking for answers and have experiences or knowledge that, if shared, can help others and possibly the industry as a whole.”
Let me give you an example from my prior company.
For example, in the pre-employment background screening industry, the leading background check companies big and small decided to get ahead of regulations and to agree on self regulations and create best practices to be held accountable to. The association was called the Association of Consumer Reporting Agencies (ACRA).
Initially, the purpose was to create a shared motor vehicle record access platform that all member could access. The industry giant at the time had developed a platform that it resold and allowed all competitors to utilize in order to get access to motor vehicle records. This was designed to alleviate each of the thousand or more independent background screening companies from contacting all 50 MVR offices in the U.S. and separately programming into their records. The industry giant had landed the lion-share of the resale market. One day, without notice, it notified the thousands of users that it would no longer allow access to its database. This threw the industry into chaos and led to such anger, that ACRA was formed to protect and avoid a monopoly from doing this again. We all chipped in together to help the other.
Why help a competitor?
The industry was better working as one, rather than thousands of individual companies clogging up the state MVR departments with requests to get access to the public record. Also, there was enough pie to go around.
Then there was also the formation of and among friendly competitors called the National Association of Pre-Employment Background Screeners (NAPBS). The purpose of NAPBS was to gain consensus from and among the industry players about issues that were better handled through thought leadership and cooperation, than to legislation. This organization today is the leader in lobbying and setting an industry standard and voice for the entire Pre-Employment screening industry.
Better to do it together, than alone:
So when thinking you are the ONLY compliance officer who must be struggling with a new issue, or the ONLY one to have faced a compliance conundrum, look around. You will quickly realize that others are starving to help and share. Look at the proliferation of chat rooms, and forums in HCCA. People want to help people.
So reach out. Broaden your sources and resources. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. AND, when you see a colleague in need, pay it forward by lending an ear and hand.
Healthcare works the best and is the healthiest when everyone chips in to make it safer and more compliant.
Find a handful, 5-10 people you trust or admire, and form an informal chat group that meets monthly or quarterly over the phone and discusses relevant topics. Be sure to have an agenda. Have someone take notes, and follow through when things are assigned to you. This could become your best resource.