Something new has been happening at PolicyMedical for the past 3 years that has never happened before. New clients are coming to us with a current or previous policy management software solution. Also we have had a small number of customers that moved on from us after ownership changes and we were no longer a fit for them. The truth is we are not a policy management software fit for every hospital. To make a long story short we were asked to dive in and help these hospitals extract their documents from their previous policy management software systems. Going “under the hood” of each of these other solutions allowed us to realize one very important truth that many within the industry have suspected but probably don’t want to publicly admit…including us. I decided to write this article to break that silence. The following experience that I went through in 2014 will sum up this new phenomenon.
One of the largest chains of hospitals in Illinois became our customer at the beginning of 2014. During our planning of how to set-up policy management software for this chain of hospitals we decided to do it in 4 phases, spanning twelve months. During each phase we were going to focus on a smaller cluster of hospitals so we can set-up their policy management software completely. We are pretty face to face in terms of how we do things here so we decided each phase would have a series of what we ended up calling “road shows” to travel around and train each hospital completely on their new policy management software solution. During the first few visits we uncovered that several of the hospitals in the past had purchased other policy management software solutions. While helping our new hospitals migrate from one policy software to our own our suspicions where confirmed.
- All of the leading policy management software solutions have virtually 80% of the same types of functionality.
- It is the last 20% and the way policy management vendors provide service and support that is the new differentiator. Not the product itself anymore.
This realization allowed me to see how a simple and consistent framework can be drawn up to walk anyone through how to set-up any policy management software solution out there. Here is a link to a review we did on the leading vendors in the policy management software space. What follows is a simple recipe to follow when setting up any policy management software whether its ours or one of the other great policy management solutions out there.
Policy Management Software Set-up Steps:
Step 1: Focus On Setting Up Your Table of Contents
Sit with your policy team and draft an MS Word document on how you want your ideal table of contents to look. Work on prioritizing important folders and eliminating needless subfolders. Label them in plain language that your frontline staff can understand. Click here to learn more on this topic.
Step 2: Conduct A Policy Inventory
Doing this will save you a lot of time and money. I suggest doing this yourself and not hiring or paying an outside 3rd party to do so. The goal here is to find where all policies and procedures are, record what format they are in (i.e. – hard copy, MS Word etc.), flag and remove duplicate and obsolete policies and identify any content gaps. You will notice that this has nothing to do with the software itself. However if you don’t do this step you are risking the creation of what I call “electronic policy chaos” within your policy management software application.
Step 3: Upload Policies
Almost all policy management systems and policy management vendors will tell you how easy it is to load policies into a policy management software solution. Yes for the most part this is true. However one part takes care and time on your behalf. That is when you upload policies take the time to fill out the fields that make most sense to your hospital. For example the fields if filled out correctly that will turn your new policy management software from a glorified file management system into a world-class policy management solution that will provide numerous returns to your hospital are the following:
- Policy Name.
- The people that are responsible for the policy.
- The next review date for the policy.
- Linking accreditation and regulatory data to the policy.
You can budget anywhere from 10-30 hours for one person to upload 1000 policies. This is of course if all the policies are at your fingertips.
Step 4: Figure Out The Roles That Your Special Policy Contributors Will Assume In Your Policy Management Software
The idea here is to look at your approach to policies and your current approval process (outside of any policy management software solution) and map out the most common roles people assume. These will serve as your roles within your policy management software for those people that are doing things beyond simply reading them. The rule here is to try to come up with the minimum number you can. Common examples of roles are: editors, approvers, signers etc.
Is Your Hospital The Right Fit For Policy Management Software?
There you have it. These are the top four things to keep in mind when setting up any policy management software. I shared the do’s and don’ts above because we are being asked this question by our new clients and also if one of our clients were to find that we are no longer a fit, my hope is that they can use this article to help them set-up their new policy management software that might be a better fit for them. If you want to find out if PolicyManager is the right fit for your hospital contact us to schedule a demo.