There are countless reasons why hospital staff might not read the necessary policies, including lack of motivation, difficulty locating policies, and polices containing outdated information. A robust policy management system can help your healthcare organization write new policies, keep them up to date, store them, and make them readily available to employees. However, getting your employees to read the policies is a whole other story. Despite these challenges, it is critical that employees read and understand all assigned policies. That being said, it is possible to have a culture where policies are read on-time and a hospital can attest to each employee’s awareness about specific policies. In this article we are going to address many of these issues and what your healthcare organization can do to motivate your staff to read and stay informed.
Reading policies is important in any type of organization, but especially in healthcare. Patient safety should be the top priority, and understanding policies is the first step. Healthcare is ever-evolving, and it is important for providers to stay up to date on the most current patient care procedures. Not reading policies and procedures can lead not only to errors in patient safety, but also to a lack of compliance with accrediting agencies, leaving the organization open to lawsuits and at risk for losing accreditation. There are a number of reasons healthcare workers are averse to reading policies. At PolicyMedical, we have heard it all.
Issue #1: “I Would Rather Care For Patients Than Read Policies.”
Many healthcare providers have a lack of time and motivation for reading policies. We understand; policies can be boring. It makes sense that providers would rather spend their time caring directly for patients. However, reading policies is essential to providing care. If providers do not read updated policies and procedures, patient safety errors and subsequent lawsuits are inevitable. Any revenue that is generated is going to come in one door and out the other.
Issue #2: “I Can’t Find The Policy.”
Another reason that employees may not read policies is that they simply can’t find them. In many healthcare organizations, policies are stored in several different locations, from binders to USB sticks. Without a central repository for policies and procedures, employees can waste valuable time searching for specific policies. This is disruptive and takes time away from other more important activities.
Issue #3: “This Policy Is Out Of Date.”
When policies and procedures are out of date, employees are much less likely to read them. Sometimes, there are several different versions of a particular policy floating around in an organization, and employees do not know which one to read. Other times, a particular policy has not been updated in 5 or more years. If an employee cannot find correct information within a policy, they will find that reading them is pointless. With a robust policy management system such as PolicyManager, many of these issues can be alleviated, ensuring that your employees read and comprehend all assigned policies.
Ideas To Motivate Employees To Read Policies
To increase motivation among employees to read policies, an internal competition could be useful. For example, the first department to read and sign off on a new policy could be awarded with an incentive such as a lunch party. Departments can simultaneously build morale, read and comprehend a new or updated policy, and learn how to navigate the organization’s policy management system. In PolicyManager, there is a tool called Access Station, designed to ensure that employees read all policies assigned to them. Once a user is assigned a policy to read, Access Station makes the policy easily accessible to them, records how much time they spent reading the policy, and requires that the user sign off on the policy.
Ensuring that employees read and comprehend new and updated policies is the most important goal of a policy management system. At PolicyMedical, we understand how difficult this can be, and our PolicyManager solution was designed with these difficulties in mind. However, not all software programs are a good fit for your organization. If you would like to find out if or Access Station would solve your “reading” problems, contact us to schedule a demonstration of how we can help you motivate your staff, make policies readily available, and keep them up to date. This will benefit your patients, your employees, and your organization.