How to Create an Annual Audit Plan

Putting together an annual audit plan for healthcare compliance might sound daunting, but it's all about paying attention to the right details.  

While every organization has to manage their own compliance risks and audit approaches, here’s a quick checklist to help you organize your annual audit plan. 

#1. Check Out the Scene 

  • Keep an eye on updates in healthcare regulations, like guidance from HHS OIG, DOJ, and others. 
  • Do a deep dive into potential risks with a comprehensive risk assessment for your organization. 
  • Spot any changes that might shake things up for your organization and identify potential risk areas where your organization might be veering off the compliance path. 

#2. Set Some Goals 

  • Clearly outline what you want to achieve with your annual audit plan. 
  • Make sure your goals match up with your overall organizational game plan and compliance priorities.  
  • Familiarize yourself with all the healthcare compliance standards that apply to your organization. 
  • Don't forget to include industry-specific requirements or any general regulatory rules that might throw a curveball. 

#3. Map Out Your Approach 

  • Identify your budget, staffing, and tech needs. 
  • Double-check that you've got enough in the tank to cover everything (including unexpected expenses!) 
  • Get specific about the criteria you're using to check off your organization's compliance. 
  • Set clear benchmarks and performance indicators for the audit. 

#4. Time It Right 

  • Map out a timeline for your annual audit plan. 
  • Consider peak operational periods and regulatory deadlines (your teams will thank you for this – believe us).  

#5. Set Priorities with the Team 

  • Team up with key players like legal, IT, and operations and ensure your plan covers all the bases. 
  • Rank your audit focus areas based on risk, regulatory impact, and past compliance history. 
  • Make sure you're hitting all the crucial aspects of healthcare operations.  

#6. Put Pen to Paper 

  • Create standardized audit procedures and templates. 
  • Spell out the steps for doing audits, from collecting data to analyzing the nitty-gritty details. 

 #7. Wrap It Up and Share 

  • Develop a plan for sharing your audit findings and recommendations. 
  • Keep everyone in the loop throughout the audit journey. 
  • Keep a detailed record of what you find during the audit. 
  • Summarize everything in a report, including action plans for fixing any issues.  

#8. Check Back In 

  • Set up a system for keeping tabs on how well corrective actions are working. 
  • Make sure all issues are addressed in a timely manner. 
  • Hold training sessions to update everyone on compliance requirements.  

#9. Ask for Opinions 

  • Gather feedback from the team on how well the audit plan is working. 
  • Use their insights to make future audits even better. 

#10. Keep Getting Better 

  • Do a post-audit review to find ways to tweak your processes. 
  • Use the insights to make your future audits even more effective and efficient.  

Remember, it's crucial for healthcare compliance teams to stay organized and keep improving. If you want an extra layer of objectivity, think about bringing in outside experts or an independent review team. 

Creating an annual audit plan in healthcare is all about working together and staying flexible. By keeping an eye on regulations, setting goals, and involving your team, you're not just ticking boxes – you're building a culture of resilience and compliance.  

Want more? Check out our webinar on The Art of Annual Audit Planning. 


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