3 Important Traits According to a Corporate Compliance Officer in Healthcare

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Now more than ever, our world is in need of leadership to help navigate the difficult environment and changing rules and regulations. Healthcare systems and businesses particularly rely on the skills and attributes of a talented Chief Compliance Officer. The individual serving in this role is certain to interact with every employee at some juncture and impact the overall culture of the organization. As with all leadership roles, there are obvious skills and traits that will help fulfill the position. In addition to being intelligent and analytical, a compliance officer must be of high integrity and possess the ability to communicate with diverse personalities. A strong person serves the role of the compliance officer with confidence and helps an organization face unavoidable challenges.

Multiple duties and responsibilities comprise a compliance officer’s job description making it difficult to determine exactly the most important skills and traits for a specific organization. However, there are exemplary professionals serving in the role of healthcare compliance officer around the United States. One such individual is Christine Babenko, MJ, MSN, RN, CHC, CCEP, CHPC, Corporate Compliance Officer of ChristianaCare. Ms. Babenko’s experience in this role is extensive as she has been with the health system for 23 years and through many changes.

Here, Ms. Babenko shares her insight and expertise on the three most important traits of a healthcare compliance officer.

What are the three most important traits of a healthcare compliance officer?

1. Building trust through effective communication

I don’t want people to think of compliance as a punishment or a roadblock that they work to avoid. I want people to feel that they can come to me and discuss their concern or ask any questions. I want them to trust that I will actively listen to learn. I’m on their team and together, we are stronger!

2. Having a true thirst for knowledge

The regulatory landscape today is very complex and constantly transforming. Every Compliance Officer must stay abreast of these relentless changes. In addition, the healthcare industry is also rapidly changing as providers are tasked with finding innovative ways to re-imagine health care delivery. The Compliance Officer must have a strong understanding of how the health
system is using innovation to conduct its business. Integrating innovation into the current and ever-changing regulatory setting is complicated at best. Intellectual curiosity is essential!

3. Strong leadership skills

It’s not easy having crucial conversations, delivering bad news, or reconciling differences. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s part of the job. Compliance Officers must be courageous and lead by example. I’m in the final stretch of obtaining my doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership, Learning and Innovation. One of my favorite learning moments came from reading Stephen Covey’s book titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Having the ability to critically analyze yourself, and the insight to know how your behavior impacts others, is an important leadership skill every Compliance Officer needs. Strong leadership skills will help Compliance Officers become successful change agents for their organization.

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