The purpose of healthcare policy and procedures is to provide standardization in daily operational activities. Through our many years working with policies and procedures it has become clear to us that they are essential in providing clarity when dealing with issues and activities that are critical to health and safety, legal liabilities and regulatory requirements. The importance of healthcare policy and procedures cannot be disputed but the way they are managed best will vary from one organization to another. As the importance of policies and procedures manuals may not be as apparent as it should be, we thought it would be resourceful to share our knowledge on the matter. To our end, we try to develop powerful solutions, to help manage policies and other documents in order to improve the productivity and efficiency of a healthcare facility, as well as, ensure it is not breaching any regulations. With that said, we realize that we may not be every organization’s cup of tea and that another vendor may offer a better match.
Policy in healthcare is vitally important as it sets a general plan of action used to guide desired outcomes and is a fundamental guideline to help make decisions. The purpose of healthcare policy and procedures is to communicate to employees the desired outcomes of the organization. They help employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the organization. In the healthcare environment specifically, policy should set the foundation for the delivery of safe and cost effective quality care.
With the continued increase in new regulations and requirements, such as the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, and Meaningful Use, the burden of setting policies and effectively communicating these to the employees has become burdensome.
New Laws And Regulations
For every new law or regulation, new or updated, policies must be created and be disseminated to staff. There are regularly changing provisions within the Affordable Care Act, other federal healthcare requirements, state laws and regulations, CMS Conditions of Participation, Joint Commission Standards, and other accreditation requirements. This makes it difficult to ensure that proper polices are not only created, but are efficiently communicated to the employees. As such, the legacy policy management systems for maintaining polices are no longer viable and can place the organization at risk. It is difficult just keeping up with every new law or regulation update, as well as, ensuring policies and procedures are effectively rolled out to employees is also just as complicated.
With the rapid pace of new and updated laws and regulations that providers must address, the task of ensuring that policies and procedures are up-to-date, available, and effectively communicated throughout the organization can be very difficult. This is where more state of the art policy management software can assist.
Utilizing Technology And Education
The best healthcare organizations must use both technology and education to manage their healthcare policies and procedures. Technology solutions become critical enablers to streamline this process. It can help in providing a controlled framework for updating, authorizing, and communicating to the organization, as well as, ensure that older policies are properly archived and not disseminated in a fashion that can impact patient care.
The rapid pace in which regulations change requires automated policy approval and dissemination as well as acknowledgment of employee access.
At PolicyMedical we have worked with a number of large healthcare providers who rely heavily on using a web-based policy management system for policies and procedures. Through our research we have found this is an excellent method to reach staff not only locally but also to those that may be located off site. This is particularly true for those that operate in more remote and isolated regions.
Policy management systems that allow for streamlined updating and notification tools to make staff aware of the changes are critical. It is also important to allow easy access to view the documents and communicate the changes throughout an organization.
The Best Software For Healthcare Policy And Procedures
The best policy management software solutions will ensure that employees can easily access that information and can communicate to managers and stakeholders the changes in regulations that affect those policies. Additionally, sound policy management systems can help ensure an organization’s policy and procedure information is updated and accurate. This provides more effective means for regulatory and accrediting organizations to validate that you are operating in a state of continued readiness for a survey or audit. Not having sound systems in place can result in additional on-site visits by these bodies putting the organization at risk for increased deficiencies and penalties.
Policy in the healthcare environment sets the foundation for providing the best level of care. In today’s environment, in order to realize optimal efficiencies, healthcare organizations must combine sound organizational processes with complimentary technology to achieve their desired outcomes.
At PolicyMedical, we are firm advocates of being on track with rules and regulations when it comes to policies and procedures. Therefore, we strive to develop solutions that help do just that and keep the healthcare facilities on track. If you would like to find out more about our healthcare policy management solution, PolicyManager, please get in touch to find out more. We would happy to chat through how policy management software can help bring order to your policy and procedures. It may be that our software is exactly the kind of solution your organization needs, or it may be that another vendor has a better offering. Regardless, we would be more than happy to point you in the right direction; please do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, if you want to see our software, PolicyManager, in action, please request a free demonstration.