As we continue our journey within healthcare industry, we are constantly interacting with healthcare leaders. Through our interactions, we have recognized the critical nature of complying with regulations and standards by authoritative bodies. We understand that keeping up with such regulations may become overwhelming, which is why we recommend employing a policy management system. In fact, to help you realize the benefits of such a system, we decided to provide you with five reasons as to how policy management helps improve compliance. With that said, we believe that every hospital facilities has its own unique requirements and needs, and that not all policy management systems may be able to cater them; not even our PolicyManager. Due to this, we have addressed this article in a generic manner in order for you to benefit from it, regardless of which policy management system you might employ.
In order to instil a sense of trust and credit for hospitals to build a strong bond with its community, it has to deal with various requirements from national regulatory bodies. In fact, hospitals are required to follow strict code of standards and regulations by law to remain credible in the industry.
Hospitals must comply with the standards enforced by the Joint Commission, HIPAA, and CMS, among others. Criminal and civil action, loss of accreditation, fines, and compromised patient safety are just a few examples of the consequences of non-compliance. In order to be able to effectively comply with the said standards, well-managed set of policies can come to aid, as they keep the hospitals up to date with such requirements and in compliance with relevant bodies.
Here are five ways policy management will help your hospital improve compliance.
Tracking which policies each of your employees has read and whether or not they understood it is one of the most essential ways a policy management system helps your organization achieve compliance. It is important for your policy management system to have the attestation feature or the ability to link your system with a learning management system. By having such features, your system provides you with the ability to conduct quizzes and provide resources to ensure that your staff members completely understand the policies they have received. The following example illustrates this:
The education lead at a large, multisite hospital needs to know if all staff members have read the updated policy on the prevention of nosocomial infections. She runs a report and determines all employees have read the new policy, but only 20 percent of them passed the accompanying quiz. She decides to plan some additional training and education sessions surrounding the policy.
A policy management system creates paper trails that helps prevent risks, resulting in the hospitals to avoid costly litigation. Hospitals are required by the regulatory bodies to provide formal documents that can act as evidence that the employees of the hospital are aware of the policies and procedures provided to them and that the patient’s are also aware of them and are in agreement with them. Also, possession of the documents is not merely enough. The hospitals need to be able to find the policies swiftly and have a record of who has read and understood them, in case of litigation. Therefore, an effective policy management system can create the necessary paper trail that would help avoid the litigation, and save you from any harm that might arise in case the litigation occurs.
Information is a vital component in the world of hospitals and their facilities. In terms of policy management for hospitals, such information may include utilization of the system, attainment of long-term education and compliance goals, and progress of policy updates. It is essential that all of this information be kept up to date and is available instantaneously. CEOs and other high level hospital administrators require the staff members such the nursing leaders, IT staff, and policy administrators to provide them with reports in order to help with decision-making. Therefore, it is imperative for an efficient policy management system to be able to store a great deal of data that can then be compiled and analyzed on a regular basis. For example, if a policy administrator needs to know how many policies are up to date, and how many are past a due date, she can run a real-time report that will give her this information. With this information, the department heads can decide to allocate additional personnel resources to work on policies. Real time reporting is an indispensable tool in a hospital’s policy management system.
Excess cost is easily eliminated by a policy management system as all the policies and procedure manuals are digitalized, saving up costs of printing, copying, distribution, organization, and storage of policies. It also saves up time that spent doing so. An efficient policy management system carries out the entire procedure of policy revision, review, and approval process, seamlessly, as it can automatically notify you when policies need to be updates, or when they no longer meet the regulatory requirements. In fact, since a policy management system eliminates the unnecessary requirements and needs, time and resources can now be reallocated to bigger picture planning to reach compliance goals.
It is common for auditors from regulatory bodies to appear with short notice, and remain on site for several days. Therefore, it can get overwhelming and time consuming to prepare for such audits. Through out the process of the audit, a great deal of documentation will be demanded by the auditors from the hospital staff members. Therefore, it is vital that the hospital maintains up to date documentation of policies and procedures. Thankfully, a policy management system makes this process extremely manageable. A well organized policy management system will allow its users to easily and swiftly search policies. In addition, a policy management system can link policies and procedures to relevant regulations, demonstrating the hospital’s compliance instantaneously.
Compliance has been defined as adhering to stated requirements, whole establishing the values, ethics, commitments, and social responsibility of the organization. This definition was derived by the policy management guru, Michael Rasmussen. Therefore, compliance is not a series of activities, but rather, an organization culture. Therefore, a sound policy management system helps the hospital’s staff to maintain such a culture. In today’s health care environment, things are constantly changing, and hospital employees are required to do more with less. Policy management activities can easily become low priorities. With an efficient policy management system, employee comprehension can be easily tracked and reported, cost and risk are reduced, and your hospital can stay audit ready. Thus, your culture of compliance is easily maintained.
Producing a solution that helps manage policies and procedures, and ensures maximum compliance, is a goal that we continuously strive to achieve and improve upon. At PolicyMedical, we develop and update solutions that help healthcare facilities to concentrate on their primary job: helping their patients. With that said, we recognize that our solutions may not always be the best match for every facility, and that another vendor may provide a better match. Regardless, we are more than happy to help you come to a conclusion, even if it means another vendor is the right option. Please, do not hesitate to contact us, should you require any assistance. Alternatively, you may book a demo to witness our solutions first hand.