Are you looking for ways to improve operational efficiencies? One area of struggle for healthcare providers is implementing the right system for naming hospital policies.
If done correctly, setting up an organized policy naming structure can be a huge time saver for policy administrators, clinical staff, accreditation and compliance officers, not to mention helps streamline compliance with the Joint Commission, DNV, HFAP, CAP, and others as well as comply with Federal guidelines and hospital laws.
So, it’s clearly important from an accessibility, organizational and legal aspect. But how do you get started? Start by following these 4 Steps to Establishing a Policy Naming Structure:
Step 1: Establish how your Document Tree/Manual will be structured
The first task is sitting down with your policy committee to identify how your document tree/manual will be set up. The key is to ensure the structure makes sense for your organization, its people and allows for easy navigation.
Step 2: Marry the Manual to the Policy Number
Once the manuals and sub-manuals are identified, now begins the task of marrying the policy number to the policy. By connecting both, it creates a flow for the table of contents and organizes which policy goes where. Keep policy names short and consistent with keywords, and make sure the policy number tells a story about the policy and its location. A good question to ask yourself to test if a policy name is strong enough is “if the policy stood alone would you know what it would be about?”
Step 3: Establishing a Policy Numbering System
It all comes down to numbers. To create a successful numbering sequence, you need to be sure what guidelines and path you want to go down. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you use whole numbers?
- Do they need to be linked to other resources?
- Do you group by decimals or numbers?
- Do you divide your manuals with your numbers?
Step 4: Simplify the Table of Contents (TOC)
The table of contents is where any policy search begins for employees, so it’s imperative that it’s easy to navigate. The TOC should be printed by sorting by keyword and policy number.
There’s no way around it- establishing the rules and guidelines to policy naming nomenclature takes teamwork and organization on the front end. But once it’s done, the positive impacts it can have on your organization from an accreditation, patient safety, and operational perspective will make the initial work worthwhile.
Click here for a webinar where Terri Ziehlke, Director of Professional Practice/Education, Abrazo Health shares top considerations and examples of naming conventions and how to get started with your own naming system. You may also want to check out this handy eBook to discover how to gain productivity in healthcare.