It can often be difficult to give an honest and objective appraisal of ones own company and services as bias can often set in. When offering past and present customer reviews these can be cherry picked to help mould a certain image. It’s a bit like ‘spin’ in politics but without an opposition party to pick holes in your policies- excuse the pun! That is why I decided to conduct an honest review of healthcare policy management software.
Being new to the world of healthcare and knowing absolutely nothing about policy management software I feel like the new kid in a foreign school. That said it puts me at a distinct advantage. I am approaching healthcare policy management with no preconceptions or knowledge so I can ask the questions that others are afraid to ask, or have not thought to ask. With this in mind I decided to conduct a series of interviews with a variety of members in the healthcare community, industry experts and some of the longest serving members of staff at PolicyMedical. The idea is to better educate myself in the industry I am now employed and present some unbiased, unedited and frank opinions in the vast and complex world of policy management software within the healthcare sphere.
Recently I caught up with Donna Willeumier from Advocate Health Care (Administrator of Quality Management and Regulatory for the System) to find out her thoughts on a number of current issues.
What Is ISO9001 And How Are You Implementing Document Control In Relation To This?
The ISO9001 standard is based on a variety of quality management principles, a strong customer focus, top management engagement, the consistent process approach and continual improvement. In using ISO9001 it helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products, and services, which in turn brings many organizational benefits.
Donna went on to explain that ISO 9001 requirements had represented somewhat of a cultural paradigm shift to think of document control in a much broader perspective and understanding the importance of controlling documents far beyond just policies and procedures. “In addition to the documents that we have in our Advocate document system, we have also worked on controlling what we would call more external documents”. When referring to external documents she means items such as reference books and information located on bulletin boards, because people use these to make decisions and Advocate want to ensure that they only have the most current and accurate version available.
This has been a very interesting perspective as it has given Advocate the opportunity to sharpen their focus to ensure that not only the documents they have in their document system are the most accurate and current, but that other documents throughout their hospitals and other locations are also controlled. “It’s really been a multi-year journey and will continue to be a few more years until we probably feel that we have all types of documents fully controlled. We’ve made a good start and it’s really been very helpful to have a system to be able to assist us in this work”.
How Do You Deal With The Issue Of Staff Keeping Old Copies Of Documents?
The issue of staff members saving documents by tucking them away in drawers etc is problematic. This ongoing challenge of hoarding is understandable as people get nervous throwing things away but they don’t realize that by keeping old documents it presents bigger issues. “They are reluctant to totally destroy and get rid of older forms and documents. They have them stored in places they don’t even remember that they are stored”.
This has been an area that Donna is keen to address. Advocate has done so by conducting audits, or ‘sweeps’ as they would call it. This involves going to areas and just looking for places that staff may have stored documents and resources that people may not even be aware of. They have thus really started to clean those out. Donna notes, “It’s a challenge because some people feel very strongly that it’s important to have some of these older versions. They are beginning to understand that it really is important to only have the most current and accurate documents, unless previous versions are required by law or regulations”.
One of the further benefits of doing such a clean up is that it also frees up storage room, which is always a challenge in healthcare. So associates are now starting to understand the importance and the benefits of not keeping all these older documents in many different locations.
How Is Document Control And Policy Management Important For A Quality Management System?
Donna was unequivocal in her response, “Document control and policy management is absolutely, in my opinion, vital for a quality management system. I don’t believe you can have a well functioning quality management system without good document control and being able to manage those documents, including your policies”.
Donna feels you need to really ensure that you’ve got a well defined and managed document process to ensure that you’ve got that consistent source of truth so the associates know where that consistent source of truth is to go for reference. “In a system as large as ours, it would be absolutely impossible to adequately manage documents without a robust document management system”.
She feels the focus of being able to create documents, review them, and approve them all in this one location, while also maintaining the history is really becoming vital to feel that administrators have control over those documents. Therefore not only is document control and policy management important for a quality management system, but it’s essential to achieve a high reliability performance.
An Honest Review Of Healthcare Policy Management Software
Gauging by Donna’s responses she is fully aware of the challenges facing a successful policy management system and how software can help overcome many of these issues. Keeping hard copies of policies can result in a number of potential issues and the quicker the migration to a paperless system the better. We at PolicyMedical couldn’t agree more and that is why we are constantly updating our software to make it as robust and seamless as possible. If you would like to find out more about it please contact us. Or alternatively if you would like to see our software in action, please request a demo.