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Guiding Principles for Conducting Compliance Investigation Interviews

Guiding Principles for Conducting Compliance Investigation Interviews

Corporate compliance with HIPAA and OSHA regulations can be difficult in today's climate. Sometimes it can feel like a never-ending game of catchup to ensure you stay up-to-date with all regulations and procedure updates. Without the proper help, it can be overwhelming.

Unfortunately, that means that there can be occasional infractions and investigations. When a compliance investigation feels like the best option, a proper sequence of events must be taken to ensure the compliance investigation is carried out properly. The following article will help guide your compliance program investigation plan from beginning to end.


You should ensure your organization has a clear code of ethics and conduct before any potential infraction can occur. That includes providing information on HIPAA and OSHA regulations to employees and including a system that ensures they're familiar with the material.

If there may be an OSHA or HIPAA violation, make sure there's a secure channel in place that allows employees to report them. This channel should be anonymous so the employees won't have fear of speaking up—some might hesitate to report issues for fear of coworker retaliation.

When there's a report, it's best to act quickly but deliberately analyze the issues. Ensure that your organization's ethics and compliance arm has the resources to conduct a transparent, fair, and thorough investigation.

Determine how involved the HR, Legal, and IT departments should be. Human Resources can take charge of looking after the safety of the employees while Legal can investigate any potential legal repercussions, and IT can help with a digital investigation. In some cases, infractions might be severe enough that you might want to consider an outside investigative entity. Healthcare Compliance Pros helps in such cases.

Medical professionals talking

Investigation Plan

Before rushing into an interview, step back and make a detailed investigation plan. This should include details like:

  • Determining the scope of the investigation
  • Identifying what the potential infraction was
  • Listing known details of the alleged infraction
  • Identifying any missing information on the infraction
  • A list of important persons to be interviewed and in what order
  • What parties and people will conduct the investigation

Identifying these details will provide a road map for an efficient and fair investigation. You should have all the details to decide on a reasonable outcome if done properly.

Interview Plan

Before conducting interviews, ensure you've compiled all the relevant information for each individual being interviewed. This will include all of the information listed in the above section. You'll also want to prepare a list of questions you'll want to ask and include a reliable place to record their answers.

Arrange the sequence of interviews strategically to get the full picture. You'll want accounts from four groups: the victim, the reporter, the subject, and the witnesses. There could be one or more people from each of these groups.

Investigation Interview

This will be your chance to discover if any areas of compliance were truly infracted.

As you interview each participant, take copious notes and build on what was said from previous interviews. For example, when you interview the second person, you'll do so with the additional notes you gathered from the first interview. When you interview the third person, you'll do so with additional notes you gathered from the second interview. And so on. Ideally, one person should conduct the interview, and another should record the answers, but one person can do both if necessary.

Make sure that the interviewee is fully aware of their rights. Remember, you must interview the individual fairly and transparently. You want to keep your place of work safe and make employees unafraid to report potential infractions in the future. If an interview or investigation is mishandled, it could sour employees' trust in the organization and even lead to legal repercussions.

doctor talking to a patient

Post Investigation

After the investigation, it's time to gather notes and reach a decision. If necessary, disciplinary action will be taken against the offender if found of wrongdoing. This could range anywhere from a verbal warning to termination or legal action.

It's important to communicate to your team the necessary details of what happened and the measures that will be taken to prevent it. Likely, you'll want to consider updating your company's code of conduct based on certain infractions. During this communication, it's important to iterate not to retaliate against the offender or anyone involved in the investigation. Retaliation can lead to more problems and potentially a new investigation.

How Healthcare Compliance Pros Can Help

Navigating compliance issues can be a tangled web that can cause headaches and legal and financial consequences if mishandled. If you're looking for help with healthcare compliance in business, contact Healthcare Compliance Pros to help you get on track and stay on track. Our team of professionals is highly qualified and trained to provide you with the needed assistance.