Back in 2013 we stopped selling policy management software in a uniform manner. Up until that point, we were guilty of giving the same features and benefits sales and marketing “pitch” to every interested community access hospital, single site hospital and chain of hospitals.
We decided to replace the old way of doing things with simply sharing from what we legitimately learned from a decade of hospital policy management experience. This would allow various healthcare facilities to decide for themselves if they can benefit, or not benefit, from policy management solutions.
In order to answer how various healthcare organizations could gain value from policy management software I think classifying healthcare organizations into two categories would be the most logical. Those categories would be:
- The smaller healthcare organization that adopt technology later.
- The larger healthcare organization that adopts technology earlier.
The Smaller Late Adopter Healthcare Organization
Healthcare organizations that fall into this category would be critical access hospitals, government owned healthcare organizations, most long-term care organizations and retirement communities, and home health agencies. These organizations are usually late adopters of technology mainly because they have less money and overall resources at their disposal. With this in mind if a policy management vendor were to meet with this type of organization and communicate that every single feature and benefit would be realized, that would not necessarily be the truth. The value garnered from a healthcare policy management system would be primarily the following:
- Being able to centralize all policies (from paper, to scattered electronic storage locations) in one location.
- Segmenting policies so various people can be made responsible for updating policies.
- Securing policies from being changed, printed and circulated without permission.
- Having even the most technically challenged employee find a policy faster than they would before (from 5-30 minutes to 2-5 seconds).
- Forcing tracking and proving that employees have read the policies they are supposed to.
- Automatically notifying the right people when policies are due for review (and holding them accountable) without having someone’s administrative assistant having to add this arduous task to their ‘to-do’ list.
The Larger Early Adopter Healthcare Organization
This type of organization is typically a health system, integrated delivery network, chain of hospitals, chain of long term care facilities or chain of retirement communities. They usually have larger budgets and have experimented in the past with home grown systems and/or trying to fit enterprise wide systems into niche applications (like policy management). When the unique and specific needs of the organization demands a solution that complements or replaces the home grown or enterprise system the larger healthcare organization looks to adopt and integrate specific niche systems – like policy management software. The value this type of healthcare organization gains from policy management software includes everything listed above for smaller healthcare organizations but also the following:
- Smoother accreditation and regulatory compliance surveys and inspections.
- The ability to link accreditation data with policies.
- Being able to collaborate across geographic distances on policy updates in a secure manner.
- Gathering data through reports and dashboards as to the effectiveness of various policies and various locations adherence to policies and procedures.
- Integrating other synergistic systems (I.e. – Mosby’s Nursing Skills’ database of nursing procedures) with policies and procedures.
- Policy centralization, dissemination and segmented permissions across many different locations and sites.
By no means are the areas of value listed above the only benefits that small and large healthcare organizations can gain from healthcare policy management software. However I thought it was important to share from an experiential perspective what I have observed over the past 15 years within the healthcare policy management space. I continue to learn so much from our clients. From how they link policies with forms, to how they set-up unique workflows to efficiently update policies, to their decision to eliminate printing to control unauthorized use of old policies. I could go on and on for pages. If you would like to know more about about best practices in team collaboration to create healthcare policies and procedures click here.
So whether you are a large or small healthcare provider you can see some of the potential benefits relevant to you. Chances are if these benefits do not correlate with your current situation then right now might not be the best time for you to implement healthcare policy management software. However if you are now starting out and looking to evaluate policy management software I hope this article sets out the potential benefits you should hope to gain for your healthcare organization.