Do you have a hard time keeping track of all of your contracts? It’s a common problem in hospitals and healthcare organizations across the world. To eliminate the guess work and help your organization streamline processes such as contract management, policy management, educational materials, and clinical order sets, Policy Medical has developed a 5-part series of best practices articles.
Last week we shared Best Practices in Policy and Procedure Management. This week we are sharing another best practices article about contract management in healthcare. We realize managing all of those contracts is no easy feat for any organization and we hope to better assist in the overall process.
Healthcare Contracts Management 101
Contracts are essential documents in all industries and healthcare is no exception. A typical hospital or healthcare organization will have hundreds to thousands of contracts with a range of vendors, individuals and organizations. A recent study showed that approximately 10% of all contracts are lost across industries. This frightening statistic illuminates the need for efficient contracts management.
An efficient contracts management system allows healthcare organizations to provide the best possible care to patients, reduce operating costs, assure adherence to compliance requirements, and mitigate risk. A contracts management system simplifies the way contracts are managed from start to finish by streamlining the processes of creating, routing, reviewing and approving contracts.
The following best practices will ensure that your contracts management system aids you in achieving your goals.
Standardize Your Contract Process
Streamline, streamline, and streamline some more. The creation and renewal of contracts can be a complex process involving various players both inside and outside of the healthcare organization. Therefore, it is important to standardize the process to ensure that all necessary steps are executed consistently. As contracts are created and move through the healthcare organization, information will need to be submitted, mistakes corrected, approvals obtained and signatures added. Having a standardized process will prevent ad hoc processes, inevitable mistakes and wasted time. A useful tool is a flowchart that outlines the steps and individuals that a contract must pass through before being finalized.
Use Workflow And Process Automation
Create accountability via workflow automation. Anyone who works on contracts knows that the contract creation or review process can be easily interrupted when a contract gets stuck in an individual’s inbox, or on their desk. These delays can mean the difference between meeting a deadline and missing it—and, for your healthcare organization, between establishing a new relationship and missing out. Automated workflows prevent this by reminding individuals about key obligations, contract dates, and termination dates by attaching this information to the contract in an automated system. The system can then send email reminders to ensure all obligations are met. Many corporate legal departments forget that contracts management isn’t just an internal process, it’s also a process intertwined with the vendor’s own obligations and deadlines.
Link Contracts To Policies And Procedures
Connect relevant information. Contracts go hand in hand with policies and procedures. For example, if you have a policy or procedure surrounding security you may have an associated contract with a HIPAA security advisor. In an efficient contracts management system you should have the ability to link each contract to relevant policies and procedures creating seamless integration for compliance purposes. This will most likely require the adoption of both an electronic policy management system and an electronic contracts management system.
Create A Database Of Frequently Used Contracts And Legal Clauses
Make templates your best friend. How often are identical clauses used within your healthcare organization’s contracts? I’m sure it’s quite often. A great deal of time could be saved by automatically populating these clauses into your contracts. Your organization’s legal team can decide which clauses are most commonly used, and they can be written and housed within your contracts management system. In addition, commonly used contracts can be made into templates and stored within your system. A great deal of time will be saved that can be focused on the unique portions of each contract.
Efficient contract management software for healthcare, such as PolicyManager™, is standardized, uses automated workflows, is linked with policies and procedures and has a repository of contract clauses and templates. PolicyManager™ will simplify the entire contract lifecycle. By implementing and consistently utilizing these best practices, healthcare organizations can eliminate mistakes and wasted time, while mitigating risk and ultimately improving patient care.
As a health organization facing the issues mentioned herein, you may or may not already be using some type of software to help you overcome these aforementioned issues. Here at Policy Medical we’ve developed “PolicyManager,” our proprietary software that is currently helping hundreds of hospitals around the globe overcome the issue of contract management in healthcare. Depending on your organization’s current needs, this software may or may not be the right solution for you as well, and to learn more you can simply go to the following page:Policy Management Made Easy.
The Best Practices Series