Every day we hear about the hundreds of healthcare forms used for activities such as new employee on-boarding, finance, and patient care. Due to the high number of forms in healthcare, managing them can be a daunting task. To eliminate the guess work and help your organization streamline processes such as forms and contract management, policy management, educational materials, and clinical order sets, Policy Medical has developed a 5-part series of best practices articles.
Recently we shared Best Practices in Policy and Procedure Management and Best Practices for Contract Management in Healthcare. Today we are sharing another best practices article about healthcare forms management. Managing all of those forms can be a nightmare for any healthcare organization and we hope to better assist in the overall process.
Healthcare Forms Management 101
Most people know that forms are documents that contain one or more fields for the capture of specific information. In a healthcare setting, there are hundreds of healthcare forms used daily for the process of creating, distributing, interacting with, and integrating data from forms within an organization. Best practices for forms management include adopting electronic forms, getting proper buy-in and support, integrating with other electronic systems, and regularly gathering data and analytics.
The best practices to ensure that your organization’s forms management process are on track.
Technology is your friend and saves trees. In today’s healthcare environment, everything is going paperless. From policies and procedures, to medical records and clinical order sets, electronic documents are becoming the norm. Managing paper forms can delay patient care, increase costs, compromise patient privacy, and limit information sharing. In order to retain efficiency, it is a critical best practice to adopt electronic forms. Electronic forms are easier to use, more secure and accurate, and far less expensive than paper. By ensuring that only the most current version of a form is used, electronic forms guarantee consistency of data. They are accessible online from virtually any device and data can be accessed instantly throughout the organization. They also reduce the environmental costs of paper forms.
Obtain Proper Buy-in And Support
Build a solid support system. A key best practice for implementing a new forms management system is obtaining proper buy-in and support from key stakeholders. First, it is important to help them recognize the need for change by emphasizing the shifting nature of healthcare and the potential cost savings from updating to a new system. Be prepared with a long-term vision and detailed implementation plans. Find other similar healthcare organizations that have successfully implemented electronic forms management systems.
Once key stakeholders are on board, the project will require an administrator, who will be your organization’s expert for your new forms management system. Their responsibilities include creating, maintaining, and distributing forms, providing training, and compiling data and analytics. If all best practices are implemented, specifically the adoption of an electronic system, this will not require a full-time employee.
Integrate With Other Electronic Systems
Build a bridge for your support system. An electronic forms management system creates a bridge between forms and other electronic systems within the healthcare organization. An efficient system can automatically store and index documents in a single repository. It can gather output from clinical devices (such EKG, glucose, and respiratory monitors), standardize the data and send it directly into the document repository without any manual processes required. Completed forms can also be sent easily via fax or email. This seamless integration saves time, minimizes the risk of errors, and speeds the availability of patient information.
Gather Analytics Regularly
Get nerdy with your data. One of the most important best practices in establishing your forms management system is to regularly collect data and analytics. It is quite difficult to manage a system that you have not or cannot measure. An efficient forms management system will store a great deal of data from each form and this data should be compiled and analyzed regularly. This information can be useful to stakeholders in various departments within your healthcare organization. Examples of data to be collected and analyzed by a forms management system include resource utilization, staffing levels, and workloads.
It is clear that healthcare forms management is an intricate, yet critical process in healthcare organizations. By following the aforementioned best practices and using policy management software including adopting paperless forms, getting proper buy-in and support, integrating with other electronic systems, and regularly gathering data and analytics, healthcare organizations can increase efficiency, reduce overall costs, and provide the best care possible to patients.
Here at Policy Medical, we’re passionate about helping health organizations apply these best practices. For this reason, we developed PolicyManager™, a software used by hundreds of hospitals globally to streamline your processes, reduce risk, and improve quality. Understanding that PolicyManager™ may or may not be a good fit for your organization, we offer a free consultation to those hospitals looking to identify the best solution for their needs. Click here to set up a call with Bailey or Ismail.
The Best Practices Series